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It starts at the beginning.
They perused your resume, checked a few of your references, interrogated you at the interview and asked you if you could start Monday morning. But, as I'm sure almost everybody realizes upon reflection, the actual hiring is not usually the end of the hiring process, because upon being nominally hired, most jobs require that you undergo a probationary period.

The ostensible or prima-facia reason for the probationary period is two fold. On the one hand it gives the employer an opportunity to determine whether or not the employee has the makings of being a long-term asset to the company prior to making a long-term contractual commitment. On the other hand the probationary period provides the employee with an opportunity to assess the employer and the work environment in order to determine if he really wants to work there.

Now nearly all of us appreciate and deserve some measure of job security and the economy would suffer immeasurably if we lacked such security to the point that most of us were unable to buy a house or car or even commit to a steady rental agreement.

But there is another and perhaps more important reason why people deserve job security and fair treatment and that reason is merely that they are indeed people. For in order for us to be humanitarian it is necessary for us to treat humans fairly and justly.

For the foregoing reasons then it makes sense that probationary periods should be kept reasonably short.

There is no good reason why such an assessment period should drag on for months on end or even indefinitely as some employers would have for their own selfish reasons.

This type of abuse usually starts with the dubious premise that probationary employees should be paid less or receive fewer or no benefits.

Once this premise is accepted, it becomes in the selfish interest of the employer to stretch the probationary period out as long as is possible, regardless of the merits of the employee. Thus the true purpose of the probationary period is corrupted and becomes a mere ploy in a vicious game designed to cheat honest hard workers out of their hard earned and well deserved rewards.

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I know of a not unusual case, in which workers had to work as much as five months before qualifying for full wages and benefits, only to find themselves laid off just prior to the conclusion of this period. Then after being laid off long enough to be considered non-employees, they would be invited back to work to start the whole abusive cycle over again.

As if this was not bad enough, the union at one point conceded to extend this period to nearly seven months as part of a flexibility package.

Eventually in this case the disparity and injustice were completely institutionalized with the introduction of the core number concept that essentially created a permanent two tier system with all the resulting inequity that is described elsewhere amongst these web pages here at

This leaves two question open:

An injury to one is an injury to all!

Yours for an ethical brewery,
John Barker

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December 2002