Labor relations: the syndicate and its employees

Co-ownership staff management involves several duties and obligations. Whether towards the janitor, security personnel or gardener, it implies financial and managerial issues. In managing staff, one must take into account the following elements: recruitment, remuneration, employee performance evaluation, training and occupational health and safety. It must therefore be done rigorously.

 

 

Labor relations: a legal framework

The syndicate must abide to several obligations toward its employees. These obligations are stipulated in the Civil Code of Québec, as well as in various social and tax laws. It shall:

  • Allow the execution (by its staff) of the work;
  • Take appropriate measures commensurate with the nature of the work, to protect the health, safety and dignity of the employee;
  • Pay the agreed remuneration;
  • Contribute to Employment Insurance and the Québec Pension Plan;
  • Proceed to tax deductions at source (DAS) at the federal and provincial levels;
  • Contribute to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé, et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST) (Labor Standards, Equity, Health and Safety Commission);
  • Respect (where applicable) the Act respecting collective agreement decrees;
  • Comply with all standards relating to the health, safety and dignity of employees.

In addition to these obligations, as an employer, the syndicate must abide to, various standards imposed by the Labor Standards Act respecting, namely:

  • Current minimum wage;
  • A work week of a maximum duration of 40 hours, after which any additional hours worked must be paid at the regular rate plus 50% (per additional hour worked);
  • Allow at least 32 consecutive hours of rest per week;
  • Pay statutory holidays and annual vacations;
  • Allow social or parental leaves;
  • Comply with the rules governing termination of employment, including giving sufficient prior notice;
  • Prohibit certain practices such as the dismissal of a pregnant employee;
  • Take appropriate measures to prevent or, where applicable, bring to an end any psychological harassment (including sexual harassment) suffered by an employee. See "Dignity" section below.

 

Health and safety

Every employer has the fundamental obligation to ensure the health and safety of his workers:

  • By providing them with tools and equipment in good working order;
  • By assigning them tasks compatible with their abilities or skills;
  • By providing them with the appropriate safety guidelines, and enforcing them.

In addition to, and in relation with these obligations, the Act respecting occupational health and safety provides:

  • The right for a worker to refuse to perform hazardous work;
  • The right to protective re-assignment for the pregnant worker (or who is breastfeeding);
  • The right to protective re-assignment for the worker exposed to a contaminant;
  • The right to have training, information and advice on health and safety.

Under the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases, a worker who suffers a workplace accident or an occupational disease has:

  • The right to receive income replacement benefits or an indemnity for bodily injury and, where applicable, for death;
  • The right of access to the compensation process: medical care, physical, social and vocational rehabilitation services;
  • The right to return to work;
  • The right to lodge a complaint with the CNESST, in the event of a sanction (reprimand, transfer, dismissal) or of a retaliatory action taken by the employer, because the worker has suffered a vocational injury or has exercised a right provided for under the Act.

The occupational health and safety system is funded by all employers, who contribute thereto annually, in accordance with their payroll and their type of activity.

 

Dignity

Both the Labor Standards Act and the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases aim to protect a worker from any form of harassment in the workplace (sexual harassment, degrading words, verbal abuse and threats) that would have the effect of undermining his dignity.

Any employee can denounce a situation of psychological harassment that he may have suffered at work, that is to say any vexatious conduct conveyed by behaviors, words, actions or gestures, recurrent or not (depending on their severity), which are hostile or unwanted, thus undermining the dignity or psychological integrity of the employee. This form of harassment may come from a supervisor, colleague, client or supplier, and possibly from a co-owner. If this is the case, the syndicate-employer has the obligation to intervene to put an end to any such behavior.

 

 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW! The syndicate of co-owners must respect all employment contracts clauses. If it does not honor its contractual obligations, it is at risk of engaging the civil liability of the co-ownership. In such cases, a syndicate could be condemned to pay damages to the employee.

 WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND: The syndicate of co-owners which employs staff must, without exception, respect the contractual and legal obligations associated thereto. Its two main obligations, within the framework of an employment contract, are the employee remuneration and the provision of the means necessary to carry out its mandate.

 WARNING! Sexual or psychological harassment can have harmful consequences to the worker's health. This prejudice may, depending on the circumstances, be considered as an employment injury indemnified under the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases.