HANDBOOK HELPER EPISODE 2 AT THE STARTING LINE « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


Clearly Stating the New Hire “Probationary” Period

Workplace policy manuals (handbooks) often include a progression of employee classifications, such as probationary/introductory, regular, full-time, part-time, temporary, leased, exempt from overtime, and non-exempt from overtime.

New Employee Probation Period:

Employers commonly opt to place new hires on a 90-day “probationary” or “introductory” period, that time when the employee will be learning the ropes and demonstrating competence within the business’s operations.

Contrary to popular belief:

  • Businesses are under no obligation to classify new hires in any manner;
  • Such intro periods – if correctly defined in writing – will not undermine employment at-will;
  • As such, once through that probationary/intro period, the employee can still be terminated at any time, with or without advance notice and for any legal reason or no reason;
  • Employers do not insulate themselves against discrimination claims by terminating workers during probationary periods; and
  • Employees may receive unemployment benefits even if let go during the introductory period.

Drafting Tips:

Clearly define and properly position employee classifications throughout the handbook; ● avoid referring to regular employees as “permanent” as that can contradict at-will employment; ● describe the purpose and expectations of the probationary period and allow flexibility to shorten or extend it; ● and reserve the right to alter or change the employee’s job responsibilities at any time during or after the probationary period.


Implement, regularly review and update as needed a comprehensive, clearly written handbook.
We trust this series will enlighten employers on the importance of having a well-written handbook to assist new hires, existing employees, and management alike. To purchase our template handbook and accompanying forms or for more information, please contact Office Manager Aimee Rosales at 626.583.6600 or email her at officemgr@tbowleslaw.com.

See also:

Cindy Bamforth
June 17, 2022

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