Board Proposal to Change Article 4: Professional Appointments


AU has proposed the following changes to professional appointments:

 1.    The probationary review process is eliminated.

2.    AU may extend probation by 1 year with no appeal.

3.    Probationary employees may be terminated at any time.

The overall effect of these proposals is to give the employer total control over probationary reviews and significantly more power over professional employees during their probationary period. More details on these proposals follow below.

Eliminate Probationary Review Process

At present, a committee similar in composition to the hiring committee conducts probationary reviews for professional staff. The committee then makes a recommendation about a permanent appointment to the relevant Executive Officer.

AU wants to do away with the existing probationary review process. This includes eliminating the use of a committee and the requirement that the review examine the probationary member’s performance of the duties in his or her job description.

The resulting absence of any language about probationary reviews would allow AU to make probationary review decisions in any way it wished. This creates the potential for AU to set unfair and/or ever-changing processes and criteria.

Automatic Extension of Probationary Period

Presently, a probationary review committee can recommend extending a probationary period for up to two years. The purpose of such an extension is to allow a probationary employee who is struggling more time to prove that they warrant a permanent appointment. Probationary staff members can appeal such a recommendation to the Professional Appeal Committee.

AU proposes giving the Executive Officer the power to unilaterally extend probationary period by one year. Under AU’s proposed changes to Article 7 (see Bargaining Update 2), the probationary employee would have no means of appealing such an extension.

At present, AU may only terminate a regular probationary position if there is (1) a layoff under Article 12, (2) discipline under Article 7, or (3) a recommendation by a probationary review committee to terminate under Article 4.

AU wants do away with these restrictions, giving itself the unilateral power to terminate probationary employees at any time and without reason. In theory, probationary employees could grieve such treatment, but AU’s proposal means such a grievance is unlikely to succeed unless, for example, the employer confesses that the termination was motivated by discrimination. 

Terminating Probationary Employees at Any Time

The results of our poll (rounded to nearest whole number) were:

 1. Do you support eliminating the existing probationary review process of professional staff members?

 Yes: 13%

No: 75%

Abstain: 12%

2. Do you support allowing AU to unilaterally extend professionals’ probationary periods with no appeal process?

Yes: 18%

No: 74%

Abstain: 9% *

* Results do not total 100% due to rounding.

3. Do you support allowing AU to terminate probationary professionals at any time and with no effective recourse?

Yes: 19%

No: 73%

Abstain: 8%

Opinion Poll Results