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Worker wins case for being dismissed after requesting parental leave

The logo of the Quebec Administrative Labour Tribunal on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 in Quebec City. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot) The logo of the Quebec Administrative Labour Tribunal on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 in Quebec City. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)
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A man has won his case in court following his dismissal after requesting parental leave from his employer and asking questions about remuneration.

The Administrative Labour Tribunal annulled his dismissal and ordered the employer to pay him the equivalent of his salary and other benefits missed by way of compensation.

The worker, a store manager, had informed his employer before the 2022 holiday season that he intended to take parental leave at the beginning of 2023.

The employer asked if he could perform some duties, such as making purchases and orders, during his parental leave, which the employee eventually agreed to do.

The employer then asked him to postpone his parental leave.

The worker agreed "to accommodate the employer," the Tribunal states.

As time passed, the worker had difficulty obtaining dates to take his parental leave.

He then asked how he would be compensated for the hours he was occasionally asked to work during his leave.

He contacted the company president directly, rather than his immediate superior, to ask how his company bonus would be calculated during his parental leave.

Offended by the direct contact and the questions asked by the employee, the president told him that this was his last day of work and he would have to return his keys the next day.

In court, the employer cited other reasons for the dismissal, such as blackmail, lateness and unsatisfactory performance.

The blackmail alleged by the employer was not proven, nor was the unsatisfactory performance.

The evidence consisted only of general allegations.

In addition, two weeks before he was fired, the worker had received a message from his immediate superior: "don't give up on your good work. I'm very happy with the way you're running the store."

The worker "is presumed to have been dismissed in reprisal for his request for parental leave, a right within the Act respecting labour standards, and the employer failed to prove sufficient cause to explain his dismissal," writes administrative judge Pierre-Étienne Morand.

He concluded that "the dismissal was illegal."

Although the store has since closed, he ordered the worker to be reinstated to reestablish his employment relationship with the company.

This was necessary, the Tribunal explains, to enable the worker to recover his salary and other benefits.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 1, 2024. 

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