In Quebec, "layoff" and "dismissal" are two terms with distinct legal meanings. While "layoff" refers to the unilateral termination of an employment contract by the employer, "dismissal" is considered a disciplinary measure taken by the employer in response to wrongdoing by the employee. Employers must follow legal procedures and respect employees' rights in cases of layoffs or dismissals, and employees also have recourse if they believe they have been dismissed without justifiable cause.
In Quebec, "layoff" is defined as the unilateral termination of an employment contract by the employer. A layoff can occur for economic reasons, performance-related issues with the employee, or changes in the organization of the company. However, it must always be justified by serious and legitimate reasons. In all cases, the employer must follow legal procedures and respect the employee's rights, including the right to notice, severance pay, and potentially access to a career transition program.
Here are some examples of situations where layoffs may occur in Quebec:
- Economic Termination : If a company is facing financial difficulties and needs to reduce its workforce to survive, it may be required to terminate employees for economic reasons. This can be due to a decrease in demand, increased competition, fluctuating exchange rates, etc.
- Termination for Performance Reasons : If an employee fails to meet the employer's expectations in terms of quality of work, performance, behavior, or absenteeism, they may be terminated for performance reasons. However, the employer must follow legal procedures and provide the employee with reasonable opportunities to improve their performance before proceeding with termination.
- Termination Due to Organizational Changes : If a company needs to make structural changes such as reorganization, merger, acquisition, or relocation, it may need to terminate employees. In this case, affected employees must be transparently informed and provided with notice, severance pay, and potentially access to a career transition program.
It's important to note that regardless of the context of termination, the employer must follow the labor laws and regulations in effect in Quebec and respect the rights of employees.
In Quebec, dismissal is the unilateral termination of an employment contract by the employer for disciplinary reasons or reasons related to the employee's behavior or performance. Unlike termination which is related to circumstances independent of the employee's conduct, dismissal is often considered a disciplinary measure in response to misconduct by the employee. Employers must also follow legal procedures and respect employees' rights in cases of termination. Termination can have significant legal and financial implications, which is why it's essential for companies to carefully document the termination process, including the reasons justifying the decision, discussions with the employee, and measures taken to minimize harm to the employee.
Dismissal with just and sufficient cause
A dismissal with cause is a disciplinary measure taken by the employer in response to inappropriate behavior by the employee. This means that the employee is terminated without notice and without severance pay because they have committed a serious offense or wrongdoing that justifies immediate termination.
Cause can include behaviors such as theft, harassment, workplace violence, breach of confidentiality, negligence, or financial misconduct, among others. Generally, the employer must prove that the misconduct occurred, either through witnesses, video or audio recordings, documentary evidence, or other means of proof.
It's important to note that the dismissal with cause must be based on serious and legitimate grounds, and employers must follow legal procedures to ensure that their decision is justified.
Constructive dismissal is a situation where an employer attempts to terminate an employee without providing notice or severance pay but uses another justification unrelated to the employee's performance. For example, an employer may claim that the decision to terminate the employee is related to economic reasons or a company restructuring, while in reality, the employee is terminated due to their performance or discriminatory reasons related to their gender identity or religion. Constructive dismissal is illegal, and the employee can challenge the termination by claiming abusive conduct or by taking the matter to court.
Another example of constructive dismissal would be if an employer wanted to get rid of an employee without having to pay severance pay. Instead of directly terminating the employee, the employer might significantly change the employee's duties, put them in a position with no hope of success, or give them unrealistic goals to ensure they fail. Afterward, the employer could terminate the employee for unsatisfactory performance without mentioning the true reason for the termination of the employment contract. This type of constructive dismissal is also illegal.