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Can you be fired after a work injury in Quebec ?

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Are you the victim of a work-related injury or illness? You probably have many questions, including: Can I be fired?

Me Bégin, a lawyer for victims of workplace injuries, will explain what rights you have under Quebec law.

Can the victim of a workplace injury be fired in Quebec ?

Good news: you can’t be fired if you’ve suffered a workplace injury in Quebec. 

According to article 32 of the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases: “No employer may dismiss, suspend or transfer a worker or practice discrimination or take reprisals against him, or impose any other sanction upon him because he has suffered an employment injury or exercised his rights under this Act.”

For example, an employer cannot fire a worker simply because he or she has had an accident, or because the employer is upset that the injured worker has made a claim to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST).

The CNESST considers any dismissal or sanction that occurs within 6 months of the accident to be related to the workplace accident. Therefore, a worker who is injured and then dismissed does not have to show that there is a relationship between the sanction or dismissal and the accident. Instead, the employer has the burden of proving to the CNESST that the dismissal or sanction was not directly related to the work accident.

What are your rights and duties when returning to work after a work injury?

You have the right to return to the same position you held before your accident.

Here are a few things you should know to ensure that your re-entry complies with the law:

  • If you cannot return to your former role, e.g. if it no longer exists or you can no longer perform it as a result of the injury, your employer must offer you an equivalent job or a job that you will be able to perform.
  • If your work contract ends on a specific date, you can return to your role until the end of the contract.

While you have rights, you also have duties and obligations:

  • You must notify your employer when your doctor says you can return to work. This is part of the procedure to follow after a workplace injury.
  • The right to return to your former job does not last forever. If the company has 20 or fewer employees, you have 1 year from your first day off to return to work. If the company has more than 20 employees, you have 2 years
 

What to do if your employer threatens or punishes you

Unfortunately, employers often take advantage of the fact that injured workers are vulnerable and don’t always know their own rights. This frequently leads to employers psychologically harassing their workers. The CNESST protects employees from this abuse.

If you think you are a victim of psychological harassment by your employer, you have several options:

  • Follow the complaint process set out in your employer’s harassment prevention policy
  • Contact your union representative
  • Talk with your employer or your company’s human resources department
  • Seek legal advice from a lawyer in Quebec
  • file a psychological harassment complaint

    Contact Bégin Avocat to exercise your rights after a work injury

    We have covered the key points related to a possible termination following a workplace injury in Quebec.

    However, these situations can be much more complicated. If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, you may have specific questions that we couldn’t address in one article.

    We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us:

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