Resignation and Bonuses… in Quebec… in English!

As an Anglophone employment and labour lawyer from Quebec, I don’t often get to read decisions in my native language. Recently, Justice David Collier, also a Quebec Anglophone jurist from my ex-firm Norton Rose Canada LLP, rendered an employment law decision which merits some attention in the “Rest of Canada” – both because it’s well-written and sound but also because it is a rare English-language decision from La Belle Province which summarizes civil law employment law concepts in English.

In Gilman c. Fieldturf Tarkett Inc., 2012 QCCS 1429 (CanLII), Justice Collier deals with applications from several disgruntled field turf company ex-employees who felt that they were unjustly deprived of their year-end bonuses because they were terminated or forced to resign prior to the eligibility date. Justice Collier concluded that the bonuses had been earned and could not be withheld due to their termination or forced resignation as they would have received them had they been provided with appropriate reasonable notice. Justice Collier explained that “[t]he law in Québec concerning the payment of bonuses is similar to that in other Canadian provinces… [a]n employee is entitled to receive a bonus owed during a notice period when the employee has a reasonable expectation, based on past practice, that it will be paid.”

My colleagues from the RoC may be surprised to find that the law in Quebec is not much different from the common law. The decision is a good read for anyone interested in learning about the basics of Quebec employment law in English.

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