Complaint related to wages

When a complaint related to wages is filed

The employee’s collaboration is essential for the processing of his complaint. He will have to provide:

  • his name, address and telephone number
  • the name, address and telephone number of his employer
  • the name of the person to be contacted at his employer’s enterprise
  • the date when his employment began
  • the date when his employment ended, where such is the case
  • the reason for his complaint.

The employee will also have to provide:

  • a copy of his record of employment
  • a copy of his pay sheet

and if possible:

  • the record of hours worked
  • a copy of his contract of employment
  • his income tax slips.
Service de renseignement

You can file a complaint in two ways:

1 . On-line

2. By telephone at 1-844 838-0808

Reception of the complaint

Here are the different steps in the complaint processing.

Reception of the complaint

Can the complaint be accepted?

The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail makes sure that the complaint is admissible. A representative of the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail gets in touch with the employee and checks:

  • that he is or was an employee within the meaning of the Act respecting labour standards
  • that his employer is subject to the Act respecting labour standards
  • that the violated standard applies to the employee
  • that the employee filed the complaint within the stipulated time period.
When the complaint cannot be accepted

If the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail considers the complaint inadmissible, it writes to the employee to notify him that it is putting an end to the process and it explains why.

The complainant has the right to apply in writing to the Director General of Legal Affairs at the Commission for a review of this decision within 30 days of receiving it. If the review is favourable, the Director General of Legal Affairs follows up on the complaint as soon as possible. If the Commission does not receive an application for review, it closes the file.

Verification of the facts

Investigation

The complaint is entrusted to an inspector-investigator who, after having obtained the employee’s version, informs the employer of the complaint. He endeavours to clarify the situation, to obtain the employer’s version and to gather new elements.

Where applicable, a claim is drawn up and sent to the employer. However, most complaints are resolved before this step.
If the employer does not pay within 10 days, a formal notice claiming the sum is sent to him.

If he still does not pay within the stipulated time periods, the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail entrusts the complaint to the Direction générale des affaires juridiques which institutes the appropriate legal proceedings.

Powers of the inspector-investigator

The inspector-investigator mandated by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail has the same powers as a member of a commission of inquiry. He can demand proof from the persons in question and summon them to appear before him. He can visit the premises to inspect any relevant element, require information or documents useful for his investigation, meet with witnesses or any other person whose comments may be useful.

Right to review

If the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail considers that a follow-up on the complaint is unwarranted, it informs the complainant thereof and explains the reasons for its decision. The complainant may then request in writing an administrative review of the decision within 30 days of receiving the notice.

Sending of the complaint to the Direction générale des affaires juridiques

If the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail must institute legal proceedings against the employer, the file is sent to the Direction générale des affaires juridiques and the employee has no expenses to pay. A lawyer is assigned to the case and gets in touch with the complainant to clarify certain facts, if necessary.

A bailiff serves a motion on the employer. The latter must submit to the court (Court of Québec or Superior Court depending on the amount of the claim) a written appearance.

From the moment that the procedure is served on the employer, the employee and the employer generally have 180 days to prepare their case. During this time, the attorney with the Commission des normes assigned to the case may contact the complainant to obtain additional information.

In the months following the expiry of this time period, the court summons the employee and the employer to invite them to set a hearing date. Once the date, place and time of the hearing have been chosen, the lawyer with the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail sends the employee a notice to appear. Before the hearing, the attorney helps the employee to prepare, as he will be called upon to give his version of the facts at the hearing. The Commission may also choose to hear other witnesses, as may the employer.

Out-of-court settlement

Following the steps taken by the lawyer with the Commission, an out-of-court settlement in line with the claim may be reached at any time. Any settlement offer received is submitted to the complainant by the lawyer with the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. The complainant can accept or refuse it. If the case involves a group of complainants, the decision of the majority applies.

A few tips for the day of the hearing
  • Dress appropriately: avoid attracting attention or offending others
  • Make sure that you are present in the hearing room before the set time
  • Avoid discussing your case outside the hearing room
  • When testifying, speak clearly, in a loud voice and with assurance.
  • Pay attention to each question asked
  • Remain calm

Judgment

The judge may accept or reject the complaint. He must make his decision within a period of 6 months. The lawyer with the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail notifies the employee of the results obtained and attempts to execute the judgment, where applicable.