According to section 36(2) of the Cameroon labour code of 1992 the contract of employment may be terminated without notice in cases of serious misconduct. Gross misconduct is defined as a fault so manifestly obvious and gross that it renders the maintenance of the labour relation impossible. The major types of misconduct are: offensive behavior, damage and theft, unsafe behavior and general policy infractions.


Lord of Herefored in the case of Clauston and Co. Ltd v Corry 1906 A.C 122, 129 stated that there is no hard and fast rule of law defining the degree of misconduct which will justify summary dismissal. It is all a question of fact depending on all the circumstances of the particular case.

Gross misconduct is characterized by two main elements;

  • A material fault so grave as to be gross, and
  • An impossibility to continue with the labour relation as a result of the fault.


The most frequent instance of misconduct is from the employee. The instances of the misconduct can be illustrated in the following situations;

  • Insubordination or disobedience. This must be manifested within the worker’s contract and during working hours.
  • Absenteeism. This is a situation of frequent absence as a result of false reasons.
  • Acts of violence. This is the case of assault and battery committed by the worker on his co-workers, his hierarchical superior or the employer.
  • Scandalous behavior. This is despicable immoral behavior manifested by the employee in the place of work which tarnishes the image of the establishment.
  • Personal misconduct. This is the case of theft, embezzlement and related offences orchestrated by the worker.


There are instances in which an employer could be at the origin of a gross misconduct and as a result the employee exercises the right to unilaterally terminate the labour relation. These instances are as follows;

  • Non-payment of wages. In Etude de Me Nkilli v Abbe Mvogo, the supreme court of former east Cameroon held that the respondent was entitled to determine his contract without notice following the non-payment of his wages for several months.
  • Unwarranted modification of the contract of employment. Modification in the time table or condition of work/service may also amount to gross misconduct on the part of the employer.
  • Imposing a fine as a disciplinary sanction. This is prohibited by the labour code and can lead to penal sanctions against the employer with mandatory imprisonment.
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