Employment, Labour & Equalities


Whether you're a major multinational, a not-for-profit organisation or a small company, managing people can be difficult. We understand that you not only want to be an employer who knows how to comply with a multitude of rules and regulations - you also want to be an employer who attracts top talent and motivates people to exceed their potential and drive your business forward.

At Gowling WLG, we know that you don't want to be told why you can't do something. You want to know how to get to where you want to be with an acceptable level of risk for your organisation. We bring that knowledge and our creativity to the employment service we provide, giving you advice that is timely, focused and practical. We won't sit on the fence, but will give you our clear view of the options and our recommended way to achieve your objectives.

Managing professionals is different from managing sales people or production workers. Our experience and industry knowledge allows us to tailor our advice to your workforce. From complex Court and Tribunal litigation to challenging change management, restructuring and business protection, our broad, proactive approach allows us to work alongside you as trusted advisers to minimise risks and maximise opportunities in your workforce. We work to build strong and lasting relationships with you, and are able to use our shared corporate knowledge of your organisation to deliver real value for money.

We also have a global view. Our international client base provides us with the experience and expertise to understand human resources law in many jurisdictions. We've developed the ability to compare, contrast and explain the differences in local laws in a way that allows our clients to apply their expertise in our local context.

Our services include strategic advice, hands-on support and in-depth training on:

  • Alternate work arrangements
  • Development and implementation of workplace policies
  • Dispute resolution (litigation, mediation and arbitration)
  • Disability accommodation and adjustments
  • Drug and alcohol testing
  • Employment contracts/agreements
  • Equal pay
  • Executive compensation
  • Health and safety
  • Human rights and equalities issues
  • Independent contractor agreements and employment status issues
  • Managing absenteeism
  • Managing acquired and successor rights in reorganisations/outsourcing/M&A
  • Managing whistle-blowing in the workplace
  • Performance management
  • Pre-terminations
  • Privacy and data protection
  • Recruitment and hiring protocols
  • Restrictive covenants and business protection
  • Unfair and wrongful dismissal (England & Wales unfair and wrongful dismissal claims - pricing models)
  • Union organisation, certification, organising and industrial action disputes
  • Workplace tort claims
  • Workplace investigations

We genuinely care about the health and well-being of your business. We know workplace issues don't always arise between the hours of 9 and 5: they often can't wait until tomorrow, and need urgent attention and decisive action. We work at your pace to ensure you receive the support you need to thrive.

To talk to the people who can help your people achieve more, please contact any member of our team.


People are critical to the success of your business - and they're just as critical to our success. At Gowling WLG, our team of 40+ employment and labour law professionals can help you manage your people so you can capitalize on opportunities and achieve your goals.

From hiring practices, complying with legislation and managing challenges, to ending the relationship or protecting your assets, we know the law - and we also understand the employment and labour challenges facing your business.

Featured Insights

Restrictions when drafting restrictive covenants

While different principles apply to parties involved in the sale of a business, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has provided a recent summary of the limitations that apply to restrictive covenants in the employment context. This summer Justice Gray delivered the decision in Crawford Packaging Inc. v. Dorata, 2020 ONSC 3555, where an employer was attempting to enforce certain restrictive covenants against an employee who had left to join an organization which was, to some extent, a competitor.

Whether you're a multinational company, a mid-sized operation managing its growth or a local entrepreneur just starting out, we have the specialized knowledge and skills to help you manage your people and resolve your legal issues.

Our comprehensive experience spans a range of key sectors, including manufacturing, energy and natural resources, financial services, life sciences, media and advertising, professional services, projects and infrastructure, retail, technology and many more.

With lawyers in business centres across Canada, we hold in-depth expertise in areas that are essential to your commercial success, such as:

  • Employment law
  • Labour relations
  • Health and safety
  • Human rights and discrimination
  • Workplace privacy
  • Absence management
  • Disability accommodation
  • Workers' compensation
  • M&A
  • Termination advice and strategy
  • Employment litigation and alternate dispute resolution

We also work closely with our firm colleagues in the areas of immigration, health & safety, pensions, tax, privacy and capital markets to ensure you benefit from the value of our combined knowledge, experience and skills.

Timely advice, seamless service

Workplace issues often require urgent attention and decisive action. They don't always arise between 9 and 5, and they often can't wait until tomorrow. Our top-tier team understands your need for timely and practical advice, and works at your pace to ensure you always receive the support you need - right when you need it.

And we don't just work for you. We'll work with you by becoming a part of your team, improving your capacity to manage your workplace issues. Regardless of whether you're based in a single location or in multiple regions, we'll collaborate seamlessly with you, drawing on the collective strength of our group to develop practical solutions for your organization.

Industry leadership

Our labour and employment success stories speak for themselves:

  • We represented the government of the province of Québec in its negotiation of multiple collective agreements involving 500,000 civil servants.
  • We act for a leading financial institution defending a class action lawsuit brought for payment of overtime pay.
  • We act for a global retailer defending a high-profile, $1 million+ claim involving allegations of discrimination and harassment.
  • Every day, we negotiate favourable resolutions to disputes, and help our clients avoid the time, cost, and effort of litigation.
  • We also help our clients expand their businesses through acquisitions by advising on the myriad issues that arise in complex deals.
  • Our clients speak highly of us and refer us to their colleagues in other businesses. To us, there is no greater compliment.

Gowling WLG is home to more than 40 employment and labour professionals - among them, some of the most highly ranked lawyers by leading national and international rating agencies, including Chambers Global and The Best Lawyers in Canada. We deliver unrivalled expertise and service to our clients. But what we also offer them is a competitive advantage.

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As a leader in our industry, our team shares one goal: to make sure you're a leader in yours. To find out how we can help your business succeed, please contact any member of our group.


The French employment landscape has become increasingly complex - which means that you need clear, pragmatic legal advice rather than just facts and uncertainties. You want your employment lawyers to provide a definitive view of the options and a recommended plan to achieve your objectives.

Meet Gowling WLG. Our team has expertise in all aspects of human resources matters, working hard to provide minimal risk through straightforward, honest answers. We always seek the most pragmatic solutions in the most complex legal cases for both French and international clients.

Areas we cover include:

  • Collective work relationships
  • Compensation policy
  • Consideration of employment-related data
  • Individual work relationships
  • Financial risk amendments
  • Labour disputes
  • Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and transfer of undertakings
  • Migration and international mobility
  • Restructuring

You'll find that we're always keen to offer concrete solutions adapted to the wide variety of situations that you face.

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We want to build a strong, long-term working relationship with you to deliver the first-class service you expect. Get in touch and let's started.


As an employer, you need to understand how to comply with a multitude of rules and regulations - and how to attract top talent and motivate people to meet their full potential.

Working in the Middle East means coming to terms with a range of employee rights and employer obligations. It's essential that you know how to incentivise your employees while safeguarding your intellectual property, confidentiality agreements and post-term restrictions.

Gowling WLG has over 12 years of employment law experience in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), having advised multinationals, start-ups and family offices on a wide range of matters. We also have significant corporate and commercial experience, which allows us to see the big picture and provide you with practical, pragmatic legal advice.

In working with us, we won't just tell you how to do something - we'll show you how to achieve your objectives with an acceptable level of risk. We'll apply our commercial savvy and creativity to provide advice that's always timely, focused and suited to your needs.

Employment-related areas we advise on include:

  • Dispute resolution management
  • General business protection
  • HR support
  • Incentive schemes
  • IP/confidentiality

Learn more

You'll find us to be lawyers who genuinely care about the health and well-being of your business - and who will work at your pace to ensure you have the support required. Let's talk.


When it comes to employment law, the best option is always to avoid problems in the first place. Our team will make sure you do that, and we will also help you to reduce risk while ensuring managers act more commercially.

From the everyday to the strategic, our global team advises a broad client base, comprising commercial, corporate and public sector entities, on the full range of employment issues.

You can expect our team to be:

  • Creative - The team is "excellent all round - they go the extra mile and know their stuff" (Chambers 2014). Recognising diverse client needs, a comprehensive range of support solutions are on offer, including bespoke training, a Combined Human Resource Solutions team and a range of innovative products like our gamified e-learning scenario
  • Decisive - Our experts "get off the fence and give you the options as well as telling you what they think is best" (Chambers 2014). While broad sector expertise and collective experience give clients access to tried and tested success strategies, the team loves to take on new challenges and find new solutions
  • Trusted - Working as an extension of your team, our experts will always act in your best interests. Our approach is to stand in your shoes, and with several team members lending experience from previous in-house roles, our understanding of your commercial drivers and challenges is second-to-none

We have a number of overseas offices with employment experts who can help our clients with employment issues in their local jurisdictions. We also call upon a tried and tested network of employment experts in other jurisdictions who share our approach to client service.

Wherever you are in the world, we - or someone we trust and recommend - can help you resolve any employment issue you have.

What's more, if an employment matter leads into other areas, our cross-sector specialists can step in at a moment's notice to provide you with expert advice on anything unexpected.

Our services include:

  • Combined Human Resources Solutions team - Unique in the UK, our Combined Human Resource Solutions team deals with the interaction of pensions and employment law. Typical work includes high-profile and high-value age discrimination claims and multi-billion pound restructuring projects
  • Commercial and corporate support - We are experts in advising on all aspects of the application of TUPE - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) - offering practical solutions to our employer clients, in the context of mergers and acquisitions and outsourcings, or change of service provision arrangements. We have extensive experience of public and private sector outsourcings, property management agreements and international outsourcing

From the everyday to the strategic, our global team advises a broad client base, comprising commercial, corporate and public sector entities, on the full range of employment issues. For an example pricing model for the defence of a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in an Employment Tribunal, please see below.

Unfair and wrongful dismissal claims