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Guide Interpretation

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Part I - Act respecting labour standards

CHAPTER V - Recourses

Recourse against certain differences in treatment


Article 123.4

Commission des relations du travail

If no settlement is reached following receipt of the complaint by the Commission des normes du travail, the Commission des normes du travail shall, without delay, refer the complaint to the Commission des relations du travail.

Provisions applicable

The provisions of the Labour Code (chapter C-27) applicable to a remedy relating to the exercise by an employee of a right arising out of that Code apply, with the necessary modifications.


The Commission des relations du travail may not, however, order the reinstatement of a domestic or person whose exclusive duty is to take care of or provide care to a child or to a sick, handicapped or aged person, in the employer’s dwelling.

2002, c. 80, s. 67.


When no settlement is reached, the complaint is referred to the Administrative Labour Tribunal. The provisions of the Labour Code and the Act to establish the Administrative Labour Tribunal apply.

If it is established, to the satisfaction of the Administrative Labour Tribunal, that the complainant is an employee within the meaning of the Act respecting labour standards, that one of the facts mentioned in section section 122 or 122.1 ALS occurred and that there is concomitance between these events, there is "simple presumption" in favour of the employee that the measure was taken against him by reason of the existence of this fact.

The employer then has the burden of reversing that presumption by proving that the measure arises from another just and sufficient cause.

Simple presumption" is that which concerns presumed facts, namely the illegal sanction. It can be overturned by evidence to the contrary. Once the conditions established, the legislator instituted a presumption of fault or responsibility on the part of the employer regarding the measure imposed. By known facts, this measure, concomitantly with one of the situations mentioned in sections section 122 or 122.1 ALS, the legislator makes probable an unknown fact that is often difficult to establish directly, namely a sanction for the inconveniences associated with one of the situations. For example, a pregnant employee is dismissed. There is a simple presumption that her dismissal is due to her pregnancy, whether or not the employer knew of it. The employer must then prove that he took this sanction against the employee for another reason that is good and sufficient.

That explains why the hearing before the Administrative Labour Tribunal unfolds in two parts before the deciding party. First, the complainant must prove the conditions establishing the presumption he wishes to avail himself of. If the proof satisfies the Tribunal, the employer then has the burden of overturning this presumption and will proceed on the proof of the "other good and sufficient cause", which must be a serious cause, in opposition to a pretext, and be the true cause of the dismissal.

When the Administrative Labour Tribunal concludes that an employer engaged in a prohibited practice, it can order the reinstatement of the employee in his job as well as an indemnity equal to the wages and other benefits of which he was deprived by the sanction. If the parties are not in agreement, the amount of this indemnity is determined by the Administrative Labour Tribunal, on application of the employer or the employee (s. 19, Labour Code).

The decision of the Administrative Labour Tribunal is without appeal. The filing of the decision with the Superior Court in the district in which the matter was commenced renders the decision enforceable. An employer who does not execute the decision is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine.

The Administrative Labour Tribunal cannot order the reinstatement of a domestic or a person whose exclusive duty is to care for or take care of a child or a sick, handicapped or aged person in that person’s dwelling. In this case, the Tribunal can order the payment to the employee of an indemnity corresponding to the wages and other benefits of which he was deprived by the sanction imposed.




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