Some employers erroneously believe that there is a “rule of thumb” in the common law that employees are entitled to a month of notice per year of service. The Ontario Court of Appeal has held that there is no such rule, and that determinations of reasonable notice must be based on an assessment of all relevant factors.
Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal affirmed that the probationary clause, which provided, simply, “Probation...six months”, was enforceable, and that the employee was not entitled to anything more than the one week of pay in lieu of notice of dismissal pursuant to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”).
Employers generally owe their employees common law reasonable notice upon termination without cause. However, as shown in a recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, Nagribianko v. Select Wine Merchants Ltd, if the parties agree to a probation period in an employment contract, the right to common law reasonable notice can be ousted if the employee is terminated within the probationary period.