An employer may enter into a written employment contract with an employee. This is often the case with senior management personnel. Letters of hire, formal legal memoranda or even general policy booklets setting out wages and benefits, will all form part of an employee’s contract of employment. As well as clearly identifying the terms and conditions of the employment bargain, written contracts can limit employer liability in the event employment is terminated (although such terms may not be valid under the Civil Code of Québec, as an employee may not renounce his or her right to a reasonable notice in an employment contract), and include covenants limiting competition after dismissal and guarding against solicitation of the employer’s customers. Without a written contract, the employer will be determined to have entered into an oral contract, generally of indefinite hire, which can be terminated only on provision of reasonable notice, to be determined by the courts and, in Quebec, also by administrative tribunals if the claim is filed before the Commission des norms du travail. Pursuant to the Civil Code of Québec, a stipulation of non-compete may not be enforceable where the employee is terminated without just and sufficient cause.
Additional posts from the blog
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In this presentation, Dentons' Doris Bonora and Cheryl Gibson describe the important considerations for business owners regarding estate planning.
The complicated interplay between holding parties to an arbitration agreement and upholding the purpose and intent of legislation concerned with public order is not new in Canada. In 2011 the Supreme Court of Canada decided Seidel v Telus Communications Inc, in which the court refused to enforce an arbitration agreement at the expense of a class action proceeding. Seidel concerned the British Columbia Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.