Do introductory periods in employment offer you more protection should you need to terminate a new employee who is not working out? It depends!

An introductory period typically covers the first 60 – 90 days from hire and provides an opportunity for new employees and the organization to get acquainted with each other. During this time, new employees learn how to perform their job duties and how the organization expects things to be done. Employees and supervisors are encouraged to check in frequently to ensure that there is a clear understanding of the standards for the position including quantity, quality, timeliness, safety, attendance, and more.

At the end of the introductory period, the supervisor evaluates the performance of the employee and informs them that they either satisfied the introductory period requirements or that the introductory period will be extended (and for how long) due to performance deficiencies. The evaluation should be documented in writing, preferably using a performance evaluation based on the employee’s job description.

If it is clear that the employee is not, or cannot, perform their job duties or meet the performance standards with additional training/coaching, (regardless of whether it’s before the end of the introductory period or after an extension), it’s best to end employment at that time.

Employment should be at-will, both during the introductory period and for the duration of employment, and should be clearly stated on all employment documents, such as job applications, offer letters, job descriptions, employee handbooks, and performance reviews.

Generally, it is easier to terminate a new employee during their introductory period if they do not meet the standards or expectations that are outlined in the job description or follow the policies outlined in the employee handbook. However, employees even in their introductory period are protected from illegal/wrongful termination due to discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, and more. Therefore, you should always document a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating an employee, even within the introductory period.

Leap Solutions stands ready to support the establishment of systems to help you be compliant.

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