With complex employment and labour laws, an aging population, technology that opens businesses to increased risks, and the complications of a global marketplace, being an employer is a sophisticated endeavour. With a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers practising in all Bennett Jones offices, our employment services practice represents private and public sector clients whose operations span business, government, trades and professional services. Whether the issues call for preventative measures or decisive action, we work with employers to manage their human capital and mitigate employment risk and disputes. Our practice includes all aspects of employment such as labour, occupational health and safety and pensions and benefits.
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A major element of our practice involves advising on employment matters arising out of mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and reorganizations, including developing executive compensation structures and devising action plans and termination packages for company relocations, closures, corporate downsizing, employee outsourcing and contract staffing.
We also advise on pension and employee benefit matters, provide counsel on the wide array of employment benefit plans and guide fund and investment managers who manage pension funds. From an employer perspective, we help clients structure pension plans and other benefit plan trusts – such as employee share ownership plans, bonus and stock-option incentive plans, group benefit plans and supplemental retirement plans – by advising on design options, drafting the required compliance documents, and setting up the necessary contracts and procedures governing employee subscriptions and distributions.
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Our advice to pension plan, administrators and trustees involves pension plan review and interpretation, plan administration issues such as preparation and review of plan texts and related funding agreements, communications with plan members, plan governance structures, pension fund investment structures and strategies and fiduciary obligations. We also advise on the tax implications of various plan structures, pension deficit and surplus issues, wind ups, disclosure and compliance issues and pension-related litigation.
In the labour arena, we represent employers involved in union certification drives, collective bargaining sessions, and in the negotiation, drafting and interpretation of collective agreements.