Even if there is a corporate policy to that effect, an employee is not required to report a colleague who, for example, frequently arrives late, steals money from petty cash or uses drugs in the workplace. Such an obligation would run counter to an important principle recognized by the Quebec legal system: the preservation of the working climate, also known as industrial peace. As a result, an employer cannot compel its employees to become informers and remains solely responsible for overseeing its staff.
However, there are significant exceptions to this rule, which should be noted. Thus, when it comes to executives, such as managers, foremen or other representatives of the employer, the principle of loyalty to the employer prevails over that of industrial peace. The employer could then validly impose on its managers the obligation to disclose. Also, when the health and safety of other employees or the public is jeopardized by an employee’s misconduct, the rule of silence must be rejected in favour of the obligation to participate in the identification and elimination of accident risks. This obligation entails the responsibility to report any unsafe behaviour of a co-worker to his or her employer, for failing to report his colleague.
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