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Prohibited conduct complaint

A prohibited conduct complaint may be filed against an employer, a certified association or the members of a pay equity committee. The prohibited conduct must have taken place when the initial pay equity exercise was done or be related to the assessment of pay equity maintenance.

What is prohibited conduct?

Prohibited conduct includes acting in bad faith or in an arbitrary or discriminatory manner or exhibiting gross negligence toward workers in the company. It is characterized by acts deemed to be unreasonable or unwarranted, with the result that pay equity work deviates from the objectives of the Loi sur l’équité salariale.

Bad faith

Bad faith refers to fraudulent, malicious, malevolent or hostile acts. Bad faith may be an intent to obstruct the objectives of the Loi sur l’équité salariale. It may also be evidenced by an excessive or unreasonable action taken in relation to the Act. For example, an employer who admits to using subcontractors to avoid having to pay wage adjustments may be acting in bad faith.


Discrimination occurs when there is a distinction, exclusion or preference with respect to one or more people based on grounds provided for in the Québec and Canadian charters of human rights and freedoms (e.g., sex, age, religion). Whether intentional or not, discrimination compromises the right to full equality in exercising a right. For example, excluding a group of workers from pay equity work because the group is comprised mostly of predominantly female job classes constitutes discrimination.

Arbitrary conduct

Arbitrary conduct refers to superficial or careless treatment, voluntary or otherwise. For example, by using an assessment tool that has significant irregularities to do pay equity work, a pay equity committee or an employer is acting in an arbitrary manner.

Gross negligence

Gross negligence is similar to gross fault. There is no intent to harm anyone. For example, if an employer or a pay equity committee forgets job classes when assessing jobs, it may be a sign of gross negligence.

Deadline for filing a complaint

Reason and deadline for filing a complaint

Who may file a complaint Reason Deadline What you have to do
Worker The employer, the union or a pay equity committee member engaged in prohibited conduct. 60 days from the time of the conduct in question or from the date the worker became aware of the conduct  Fill out the Prohibited Conduct Complaint form

How to file a complaint

Complete the File a complaint questionnaire. If your complaint is admissible, you will be directed to the appropriate instructions for filing an official complaint.

If you wish to be represented

You may mandate a company, a firm or another person to represent you during the complaint process.  

If you are a union member, you may also mandate your union to represent you. In this case, you must provide the name and contact information of a respondent on the complaint form. 

We provide a template for a mandate of representation. You do not have to use it. If you do not use it, you must provide us with the name and contact information of the person appointed to represent you in writing. Check with the person if they accept the mandate you wish to give them.

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