Termination clause not valid because employee quit during probationary period: Court

Worker claimed employer didn't live up to contract by giving him a raise after positive performance review

A Ramada employee isn’t entitled to receive termination pay because he quit before the end of his probationary period, the British Columbia Provincial Court has ruled.

Jason Johnson was hired by the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre in Abbotsford, B.C., to be the facility’s banquet manager on Aug. 27, 2007. His contract set out a six-month probation period, at the end of which he would receive a performance review. If his review was satisfactory, his salary would increase. The contract allowed Johnson to terminate the contract by giving four weeks’ notice.

Johnson received a performance evaluation on Jan. 31, 2008, that rated him “above standard.” However, on Feb. 19, eight days before his probation ended, Johnson gave written notice he was terminating his employment as of March 31. He said it was because he had received a good performance review but Ramada hadn’t increased his salary. The next day, Ramada terminated him, saying he was still a probationary employee and it had the right to terminate him without notice. Ramada said after Johnson’s notice of resignation, it had no faith in his commitment to his job and the contract didn’t specify the salary increase would come immediately after the performance review.

The court found Johnson was still a probationary employee and Ramada had the right to terminate him without notice.

Johnson was awarded his pay only up to his date of termination, totalling $865.39. The court found the contract required him to complete his probation to be entitled to the salary increase. See Johnson v. Lamb Properties Inc., 2008 CarswellBC 1412 (B.C. Prov. Ct.).

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