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Complaint concerning a prohibited practice

Workers may file a complaint if they believe they are the victim of sanctions, discriminatory measures or reprisals prohibited by law on the part of their employer.

Recognizing a prohibited practice

In certain circumstances, an employer is prohibited from imposing a sanction on a worker. For example, a worker may not be dismissed, suspended, transferred or have any other sanction imposed on them if they:

Example 1

Jacynthe just found out she is pregnant. She tells her employer the good news and discusses her maternity leave with them. A few days later, she finds out she has been dismissed. Jacynthe could file a complaint concerning a prohibited practice. An employer may not dismiss a worker because she is pregnant.

Example 2

François has to take time off work because his child's daycare is closed due to a plumbing problem. His employer threatens to dismiss him. If dismissed, François could file a complaint concerning a prohibited practice. An employer may not dismiss a worker who is absent from work to fulfil family or parental obligations.

Section 122 of the Loi sur les normes du travail provides for several other grounds for the various prohibited practices.

If a worker is dismissed or disciplined for a reason prohibited by the Act, it will be up to the employer to prove that they did not do so.

How the complaints process works

Filing a complaint


The worker has 45 days to file a complaint from the day of their dismissal or the sanction. In the case of a worker who is forced to retire, or who has a sanction imposed on them after refusing to retire, the time limit is 90 days.

Analysis of the complaint


Transfer of the file to the CNESST’s legal affairs department


A complaint concerning a prohibited practice is heard by the Tribunal administratif du travail. If the judge determines that the complaint is founded, they may order the employer to:

  • reinstate the worker in their job with all their rights and privileges
  • pay the worker an indemnity equivalent to the amount of wages and benefits lost as a result of the sanction

In the case of a domestic or a babysitter or care provider, the Tribunal administratif du travail judge may only order the employer to pay them an indemnity for the wages and other benefits they did not receive as a result of their dismissal.

Laws and regulations

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