FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

The FIQ wins a victory against mandatory overtime in the Laurentians 

The FIQ wins a victory against mandatory overtime in the Laurentians 

In 2021, the FIQ filed a grievance against an employer who forced a nurse in the Laurentians to work more than 31 hours in a 39-hour period. This healthcare professional had already worked a day shift in the pharmacy and an evening shift in the emergency room when she was ordered to work a night shift on MOT.  Then the next day, according to her schedule, she had to go back to the pharmacy for another day shift, then to the emergency room for another evening shift.

She then expressed her concerns to her employer about her state of fatigue and her inability to work any more. But when she asked what the consequences would be if she decided to go home instead of complying with the order to work an MOT, her manager simply told her that the police would be sent to get her.

After studying the grievance, the arbitrator finally agreed with the grievor, pointing out that the situation went well beyond the limits generally accepted by the courts. He also noted that the employer abused its management rights which led to unreasonable working conditions within the meaning of section 46 of the Charter. As a result, the employer was forced to put an end to all similar practices.

This decision confirms the position the FIQ has been defending for a long time. Over the years overtime has become a management tool used by some employers to compensate for poor workforce planning, often in a context of budget cuts. In April 2019, the Administrative Labour Tribunal recognized that mandatory overtime should only be used in urgent and exceptional situations.

Therefore, the FIQ is reminding its members that using overtime should only be justified in unforeseen circumstances, such as an increase in workload, an unexpected absence of staff or an emergency. It encourages those who are forced to work MOT to talk to their union representatives to find out their rights, or to go to https://www.fiqsante.qc.ca/en/issues/mot-2/ for more information.