Employment, Labour & Equalities

Overview

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.

Canada

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

Articles
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.

Learn more

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.

France

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.

Learn more

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.

UAE

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.

UK

The world of employment law is complex and ever changing. While the best option is to avoid problems before they arise, we understand that a pro-active approach is not always possible. Our employment lawyers will work with you to reduce risk and plan for the future, while also advising you during difficult times.

From the everyday to the strategic, our team advises businesses and organisations on the full range of employment issues. Operating as one unit from our offices in Birmingham and London, our team has a standalone reputation when it comes to employment law in the UK. As part of a full-service law firm, we also regularly collaborate with lawyers from across our other practice areas such as tax, health and safety, and financial services regulation.

We have worked on a multitude of time-sensitive, large and complex projects, investigations and restructuring exercises while also delivering business as usual operational HR, advisory and litigation advice.

Our contentious experience covers High Court business protection litigation through to complex discrimination and whistleblowing tribunal claims, with experience in equal pay litigation, agency worker disputes, national minimum wage compliance and holiday pay.

As the needs of employers continue to evolve and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues become increasingly important, there are key areas where we can offer particular employment law advice.

Key areas

Our full suite of employment law services

  • Agency and atypical worker structures
  • Business protection
  • Business re-structurings and redundancies
  • Discrimination in employment
  • Discrimination in goods and services
  • Employee investigations
  • Employment and equalities law training
  • Employment benefits/bonuses
  • Employment litigation
  • Employment terminations (including senior executives)
  • On-boarding and managing employees in the workplace
  • Structural pay issues (equal pay / National Minimum Wage Compliance / Agency worker rights)
  • Trade unions and worker representation
  • Whistleblowing and ESG
  • Senior Managers Regime compliance

Client work

Gowling WLG really knows our business and makes sure it delivers its advice according to our needs.The Legal 500

Working with UK and international private and public sector clients, we have in-depth experience across a range of sectors including manufacturing, real estate, life sciences, financial services, technology, retail, aviation, social housing, healthcare and central and local government. Some of our past and current projects include:

Recognition and reputation

We are proud to be recognised as a highly respected team in the legal and wider business market. Our team achieved the top The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners rankings for Employment in the Midlands in 2021, as well as National Leaders outside London for the latter.

We regularly host our own seminars and events, as well as for the Industrial Law Society (ILS) and Employment Lawyers Association (ELA). The ILS is a 'not-for-profit' charity; set up to promote the understanding of employment law and industrial relations and to stimulate debate in these fields. Members of our team also sit on the LexisPSL Employment Editorial Board and the Birmingham Law Society Employment Law Committee.

Contact our team

With extensive knowledge of the intricacies of employment law across the full spectrum of issues, we offer creative, decisive, and trusted legal advice that gives clients access to tried and tested strategies, unique in-house experience, and innovative solutions. Contact our Employment team today for further guidance and support.

Jane Fielding

Partner, Head of Employment, Labour & Equalities

 


For the defence of a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in an Employment Tribunal please see our example pricing model document.