Terminating employment for cause

An overview of legal parameters and best practice to avoid costly mistakes
By Hélène Bussières and Charif El-Khouri
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/30/2019
Termination of employment for cause continues to be one of the most important sources of financial exposure for employers. Credit: sakkmesterke (Shutterstock)

Terminating employment for serious reason (or cause) is, without a doubt, one of the most important decisions HR and managers must make. If not done right, it can be a costly mistake.

The concept of cause

The Civil Code of Quebec (C.C.Q.) states that “one of the parties may, for a serious reason, unilaterally resiliate the contract of employment without prior notice.” The C.C.Q. does not define the concept of “serious reason,” but case law has generally defined it as an employee’s breach of his obligations that is serious (severe) in nature or repeated, as seen in the 2016 decision Garneau v. Gestion Universitas inc.