HR Home Forums Answer for relocation of role due to shortage of work in second location in same city

Conner Lantz
Keymaster
Post count: 4836

The principle liability risk is breach of contract. Yes, probationary employees do have contractual rights. Whether you are, in fact, in breach all depends on the terms of your probationary agreement, particularly with regard to relocation and changes to the agreement.
You may also be liable for wrongful dismissal. Unlike a full-time employee, you don’t need just cause to terminate a probationary employee without notice; all you need is lack of suitability. However, failing to accept significant and unfavourable changes would most likely NOT constitute lack of suitability. And if the employee accepts the new terms, he/she may have a claim for constructive dismissal, which arises when an employer makes major and adverse changes to the employment without the employee’s consent. You can avoid both risks by offering the employee a moving bonus or some other additional consideration for accepting the change. In addition, the fact that the employment is probationary and the employee isn’t entitled to expect as much as a full-timer, the extent of your potential damages in the event of liability would be relatively limited.
Hope this helps u handle what is really a tough situation. Glenn