Notice to be given before quitting

In the event of a dismissal, employers are required to give a period of notice. The same is true for employees who quit their jobs.

The employment contract of certain employees may specify a termination notice period (frequently used for managers and executives). In the absence of a clause in the contract, article 2091 if the Civil Code applies.

The latter stipulates that the notice of termination must be reasonable and must take into account, in particular, the nature of the employment, the special circumstances in which it is carried out and the duration of employment. “In general, this means two weeks, but it can be longer for an executive. The job level must be taken into account,” says Pierre Pilote, CIRC, Partner and labour and employment rights lawyer with Gowling Lafleur Henderson. Replacing a janitor will be less difficult and probably take less time than replacing a vice-president! This is why the termination notice needs to be adjusted accordingly.

Can an employer refuse a notice? Yes, explains Luc Deshaies, also a Partner and labour and employment rights lawyer with the same firm. “An employer may ask an employee to leave immediately, to avoid having him or her work during the notice period.” This often happens when someone in a high-level position quits to work for a competitor. Trust and confidentiality then come into play. “On the other hand, though, an employer is always required to give notice,” adds Mr. Deshaies. “That is, even if the employee is asked to leave the company on the spot, the employer must still pay him or her a salary equivalent to the period of the notice.”

Nevertheless, further a recent decision of the Court of Appeal, this could change, and the employer could simply refuse a notice. Read this (in French only)

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