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Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Cameroon


In Cameroon, the Labour Code governs the termination of employment, ensuring that both employers and employees adhere to the correct procedures.

Lawful Grounds for Dismissal

Employers in Cameroon can terminate employment contracts based on either individual or economic reasons:

Individual Grounds

  • Gross Misconduct: This includes severe instances of wrongdoing such as theft, insubordination, violence, or intoxication on the job.
  • Professional Incompetence: This refers to the persistent incapability to perform job duties adequately.
  • Repeated Misconduct: This includes ongoing minor misconduct or negligence of duties despite warnings.
  • Force Majeure: This refers to unforeseen circumstances beyond the employer's control, such as natural disasters or economic crises, that make the continuation of employment impossible.

Economic Grounds

Employers may dismiss employees due to economic, technological, or structural changes within the company, provided they can justify the necessity.

Notice Requirements

  • Unspecified Duration Contracts: Either party can terminate a contract of unspecified duration with written notice. The notice period varies based on the employee's professional status and length of service, typically ranging from 15 days to one month.
  • Specified Duration Contracts: These contracts terminate at the agreed-upon date. Premature termination requires lawful justification and adherence to notice periods.

Severance Pay

  • Dismissal for Individual Reasons: Severance pay is generally due unless the dismissal is for gross misconduct.
  • Dismissal for Economic Reasons: Employees are entitled to severance pay based on their length of service.

Labor disputes in Cameroon are often resolved through mediation and conciliation before reaching the courts. It is always advisable to consult with a legal expert for specific advice on termination procedures and rights.


Cameroon has a blend of constitutional provisions, international treaties, and specific laws to combat discrimination.

The Constitution of Cameroon (1996) ensures the fundamental principle of equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on various grounds including sex, race, and religion. The Labour Code of 1992 is a specific law focusing on discrimination in the workplace, prohibiting discrimination based on sex, religion, political opinions, social origin, trade union affiliation, and family responsibilities. Cameroon has ratified core International Labor Organization (ILO) Conventions addressing discrimination, including Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (Convention 111) and Convention Concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value (Convention 100).

Protected Characteristics

Cameroonian law covers a range of protected characteristics upon which discrimination is prohibited. These include sex, race, religion, political opinions, social origin, trade union affiliation, family responsibilities, and disability. However, there are currently no explicit legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Redress Mechanisms

Options for seeking redress in cases of discrimination in Cameroon include the Labour Inspectorate, which is responsible for enforcing labor laws, including those related to discrimination. Individuals can file complaints with the Inspectorate, which has the power to investigate and potentially impose sanctions on employers. Victims of discrimination can also seek redress through the court system, with labor courts being a specialized option. The National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF) is an independent body with a mandate to promote and protect human rights. While not a court, the NCHRF can receive complaints, investigate, and seek resolutions.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Cameroon have a legal obligation to prevent and address discrimination in the workplace. This includes establishing and communicating clear non-discrimination policies, providing training to employees on anti-discrimination law, ensuring fair and non-discriminatory practices in hiring, implementing effective and accessible mechanisms for employees to report discrimination without fear of retaliation, and taking appropriate disciplinary action against employees who engage in discriminatory behavior.

It's important to note that labor laws and their implementation in Cameroon can be complex. It's always advisable to seek advice from a qualified legal professional if dealing with a specific discrimination issue.

Working conditions

Cameroon's Labour Code, along with collective agreements, provides the legal framework for working conditions in the country.

Work Hours

The legal standard workweek in Cameroon is 40 hours for non-aggricultural sectors and 48 hours for the agricultural sector. There are provisions for exceeding these limits, but they require special authorization and overtime pay.

Rest Periods

Workers in Cameroon are entitled to a daily rest period of at least 24 consecutive hours per week, typically on Sundays. Workers accrue paid leave at a rate of 1.5 days for each month of service, with a minimum of 18 days after a year of continuous service. There are also provisions for additional leave types like maternity leave and sick leave.

Ergonomic Requirements

While there isn't a single, comprehensive law dedicated to ergonomics in Cameroon, the Labour Code does include some general provisions. Employers have a general duty to ensure the health and safety of workers in the workplace. This can be interpreted to include some ergonomic considerations, such as providing proper equipment and work arrangements to minimize physical strain. Certain sectors may have specific regulations addressing ergonomic risks. For instance, regulations in the construction sector might mandate the use of personal protective equipment or proper lifting techniques. However, enforcement of ergonomic standards can be uneven. Consulting with a health and safety specialist can provide employers with more specific guidance on creating an ergonomically sound work environment.

Health and safety

Cameroon prioritizes worker well-being through a framework of health and safety regulations.

Employer Obligations

The Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ministerial Orders lay out employer responsibilities to ensure a safe work environment:

  • Risk Assessment: Employers must conduct risk assessments to identify potential hazards and implement preventive measures.
  • Safety Measures: Providing and maintaining a safe work environment includes ensuring proper ventilation, lighting, and sanitary facilities. Additionally, employers must furnish Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where necessary.
  • Training and Information: Employees must be adequately trained on health and safety procedures specific to their work roles. This empowers them to recognize and mitigate risks.
  • Accident Reporting and Investigation: Employers are obligated to report work-related accidents and illnesses and conduct investigations to prevent future occurrences.

Employee Rights

Employees in Cameroon have corresponding rights under health and safety regulations:

  • Right to a Safe Workplace: Employees have the right to work in an environment free from foreseeable risks to their health and safety.
  • Refusal of Unsafe Work: Employees can refuse to perform tasks they believe pose a serious threat to their health or safety.
  • Access to Information and Training: Employees have the right to receive information and training on health and safety hazards and procedures relevant to their work.

Enforcement Agencies

The primary enforcement body for health and safety regulations is the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MINTSS). Key enforcement mechanisms include:

  • Labour Inspections: MINTSS inspectors can conduct regular or surprise inspections of workplaces to assess compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Fines and Penalties: Failure to comply with regulations can result in fines for employers, with potential for work stoppage in severe cases.
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