What the Act says

The Act respecting labour standards provides a recourse for a dismissal not made for good and sufficient cause that protects the majority of Québec workers, whether they are full or part time.

Recourse in case of a dismissal not made for good and sufficient cause

The recourse in case of a dismissal not made for good and sufficient cause is a job protection measure that is similar to the grievance right generally enjoyed by employees governed by a collective agreement. This recourse reinforces the measures of the Civil Code dealing with contracts of employment. In some situations, it provides for the possibility of reinstating the employee in his job. An employee who has worked for the same enterprise for 2 years or more and who believes that he was dismissed without good and sufficient cause may file a complaint with the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.

A few definitions

Discharge (dismissal): Permanent severing of the employment relationship decided by the employer. The causes that an employer may invoke include:

  • misconduct
  • bad attitude
  • lack of skills
  • insufficient performance
  • incompetence.

A discharge (dismissal) implies that the employer still needs someone to do the work, but no longer wants you to be the person doing it.

Constructive dismissal: Indirect means whereby an employer dismisses an employee by presenting it as a layoff or a permanent layoff.  The employee may also be forced to resign as the result of substantial and unjustified changes in his conditions of employment or through various forms of harassment.

Permanent layoff: Severing of the contract of employment by the employer for reasons related to the internal or economic life of the enterprise. The reasons may include the following:

  • decline in business
  • reorganization
  • implementation of a new technology
  • sale of the enterprise
  • loss of a contract.

A permanent layoff implies that the employer has nothing to complain about your work, but no longer requires your services.

Double sanction: An employer cannot reprimand an employee twice for the same mistake.  For example, if the employer suspends an employee for an inappropriate action that he committed, the employer cannot decide afterwards to dismiss the employee for the same reason.

Management right: Right that an employer has to direct his personnel and to make decisions for the benefit of his enterprise and for the smooth operation of business, and not to adversely affect his employees. For example, it is up to the employer to decide what work must be done, how it must be done and when it must be done.

Time period

The recourse in case of dismissal not made for good and sufficient cause must be exercised no later than 45 days after the dismissal.


The standard does not apply to an employee who benefits from an equivalent recourse under another law or a collective agreement.

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