Question: I can relieve anyone during their probationary period for any reason, right?
Answer: It depends. Some larger companies have a probationary period and a progressive discipline process for issues that are not as serious in nature. Some smaller companies have an introductory period with no progressive discipline in order to preserve the employee’s at-will status. If you have retained your at-will status in your handbook, you have some flexibility. However, as an employer, you may be called on to prove that you didn’t terminate an employee for an illegal reason.
For example, if my employee made a hotline complaint, soon afterwards violated policy, and I decided to terminate them thereafter, I run the risk of having to defend a claim of retaliation. If so, either, I am going to have to show the employee’s infraction for which I terminated them was extremely serious e.g. think endangering someone etc. or I am going to have to ensure that I have documentation showing that I have addressed issues with the employee previously. That documentation will turn into the exhibits your attorney will present, if litigated.
Before considering termination, check with a Human Resources professional. Our professional consultants at Southwestern HR Consulting can help walk you through some of your most challenging cases. Our consultants can also do a review of your handbook for policies that help to ensure compliance. Contact us today!
Written by | Magdalena Vigil-Tullar
HR Consultant | MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CLRP