This post was contributed by Jean R. Allard, Partner, Norton Rose Canada

In a recent Quebec Court of Appeal decision,[1] the court reversed a decision of all previous courts in a case regarding unfair termination for refusal to sign a non-compete agreement three years after the hiring date.

In this case, the employer, a pharmaceutical company, had recruited a chemist who lived in France.

The offer to the employee said he’d be asked to sign a non-compete agreement and a confidentiality agreement. However—and unfortunately for the employer—, only the confidentiality agreement was signed on the employee’s first day of work.

A few years later, after promoting the employee to director, the employer asked the employee to sign a non-compete agreement. The employee decided he wouldn’t sign the agreement unless the employer compensated him with a large sum of money and respected his demands on the duration of and territory covered by the non-compete clause.