Canada: Défaut De Respecter Une Ordonnance D'injonction En Matière De Concurrence Déloyale : Votre Ex-Employé Pourrait Etre Déclaré Coupable D'outrage Au Tribunal!

La situation suivante n'est guère un cas d'exception : un employé quitte son emploi au sein de son employeur (ou bien se fait mettre à la porte) et commence à livrer une féroce concurrence à son ex-employeur. L'ex-employeur recherche donc une injonction afin que ces comportements néfastes cessent. Par contre, une fois l'injonction prononcée, l'ex-employé fait fi de l'ordonnance de la cour.

Ceci est la situation qui s'est présentée dans la décision Candock inc. c. Stegen.

Le 9 juillet 2015, la Cour supérieure a prononcé une ordonnance d'injonction interlocutoire contre un ex-employé de l'employeur et sa société. À la suite de à son congédiement, l'ex-employé avait constitué une société dans le but de concurrencer son ancien employeur. La preuve devant la Cour supérieure démontrait notamment que l'ex-employé et sa société :

  • copiaient et utilisaient les contrats de distribution de l'employeur, ainsi que ses listes de critères et prérequis destinés à ses distributeurs;
  • utilisaient les données de l'employeur relatives à ses prix de vente au détail, ses prix de vente à ses distributeurs et son prix de gros;
  • créaient des produits presque identiques et basés exclusivement sur ceux de l'employeur; et
  • utilisaient des vidéos de démonstration et des photographies des produits de l'employeur pour faire la mise en marché et la promotion de leurs produits.

La Cour supérieure déterminait que l'ex-employé avait violé ses obligations de loyauté et de confidentialité à l'égard de son ex-employeur, avait livré une concurrence déloyale par de la commercialisation trompeuse, et avait agi avec une évidente mauvaise foi.

Quoique la Cour supérieure avait émis une ordonnance d'injonction interlocutoire de cesser notamment les gestes susmentionnés, l'ex-employeur s'aperçut rapidement que l'ex-employé et sa société ne respectaient pas l'ordonnance d'injonction interlocutoire, notamment parce qu'ils continuaient de mettre en marché, d'offrir, de vendre, de distribuer, de faire de la promotion et de la publicité de produits basés exclusivement sur ceux de l'ex-employeur, ce qui leur était interdit par l'ordonnance. En effet, des photographies apparaissaient toujours sur leurs sites internet à l'extérieur du Québec et ils avaient effectué une vente des produits visés par l'ordonnance.

L'employeur déposait donc deux requêtes pour outrage au tribunal.

Concluant que les critères pour une condamnation pour outrage au tribunal étaient satisfaits, la Cour supérieure déclarait l'ex-employé et sa société coupables d'outrage au tribunal quant aux deux requêtes.

Dans le cadre du jugement sur les peines à imposer, la Cour supérieure condamnait l'ex-employé à des amendes de 500 $ et de 5000 $ et sa société à des amendes de 1000 $ et de 15 000 $, soit pour avoir omis de retirer des photographies de produits de l'employeur de leur page Facebook et pour avoir vendu à un client des objets que l'ordonnance d'injonction interlocutoire leur interdisait clairement de vendre. Quant au reproche d'avoir effectué une vente des produits en violation de l'ordonnance, la Cour supérieure soulignait que vu le mépris caractérisé de l'ordonnance d'injonction démontré par l'ex-employé et sa société, il était nécessaire d'envoyer un message clair à ces derniers à l'effet qu'ils ont la responsabilité de respecter les ordonnances de la cour.

Pour les employeurs, ces décisions sont rassurantes, car elles démontrent que la transgression d'une injonction interlocutoire peut avoir des conséquences financières aux personnes qui font défaut de s'y conformer. En effet, une seule vente effectuée à l'encontre de l'ordonnance a eu comme conséquence une amende de 5000 $ pour l'ex-employé et de 15 000 $ pour sa société. Quoique les montants peuvent paraître modiques pour certains, nous soulignons que les violations en l'espèce n'étaient pas des manquements répétés ou d'une gravité très sévère. Ainsi, dans une situation où un ex-employé violerait systématiquement et de manière répétée l'ordonnance d'injonction, les peines imposées seraient probablement plus sévères.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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