I always knew that I wanted to be a lawyer, and it was fortuitous that I was introduced to the world of Employment Law during my undergraduate years at McGill University when I studied Industrial Relations.
One of the things that I love about my practice is that every client has a story. It doesn’t matter whether it is an individual seeking advice about their employment, a family-run business, or a multinational corporation. Each one has goals and issues that they need to deal with. And there’s nothing I enjoy more than becoming their Trusted Advisor, educating them, guiding them, and working with them to develop a cost-effective strategy to pursue their goals. And, when disputes arise, I like to advocate on their behalf in order to protect their rights.
When my grandmother learned that I was specializing in Employment Law, she shared a story of when she was a young woman working in an office in Montreal. Times were tough, money was scarce and jobs hard to find. My grandmother told her boss that she would need a few days off to observe the Jewish High Holidays, and was told, effectively, that if she did not come to work on those days, she should not bother coming back at all. Despite the fact that her family needed the income from her job, my grandmother stood by her convictions and did not work on the High Holidays. That stubborn side of her helped her live to be 100 years old despite many illnesses!
Fortunately, my grandmother did not lose her job. However, many people still encounter situations like this and don’t know what to do or how to protect themselves. Perhaps because of what my grandmother went through, I take great pride in helping people that are being discriminated against in their employment. However, I am not one of those lawyers that is ideologically married to one side. While many individuals have their rights trampled on, I have also seen employees take advantage of those same rights to the detriment of their employer. The bottom line: I realize that there is good and bad in every group, and that is why my firm works with both employers and employees. We are able to see every situation from both sides.
With two active children, much of my time is spent in dance studios and hockey arenas (and, of course, in my car driving them to and from games, practices, tournaments and competitions). I have also attempted to instill in them a sense of community and the importance of helping those in need. As a family, we donate time and money to 360Kids in support of the amazing work they do for homeless youth in York Region, as well as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, since someone we care quite a lot about suffers from this disease. In my practice, I have donated time, money and energy to organizations including the United Way, the One Voice Network, the Job Skills organization, the Family Education Centre, the Lawyers International Food Enterprise (LIFE), and the Volunteer Lawyers Network.
I also believe in giving back to the professional communities that I am part of. Since the start of my career, I have been actively involved in the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations. I have also volunteered countless hours leading sessions on HR Law topics and serving on committees for the HRPA, and am currently on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM). Since our firm is based in York Region, I take particular pride in sponsoring the York Region Chapter of the HRPA and presenting an annual Employment Law update for our membership.
Not that I ever set out to win awards, but the recognition I have received means a lot to me:
- ‘The Best Lawyers in Canada’ in the area of Employment Law – In 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 I was selected by my peers for inclusion in ‘The Best Lawyers in Canada’ in the area of Employment Law.
- Named in Canadian HR Reporter’s Employment Lawyers Directory – I have been repeatedly named in Canadian HR Reporter’s Employment Lawyers Directory (a comprehensive directory of the top employment law and immigration law practitioners in Canada).
- Legal Influencer By Lexology – I have been recognised as the only Legal Influencer in Canadian HR Law in the first Lexology Awards, announced on 3 October, 2018.
- Legal Social Media Influencers – I was also named one of Canada’s top Legal Social Media Influencers. My Canadian HR Law Group on LinkedIn now has almost 15,000 members, and my following on Twitter (@RudnerLaw) prompted Klout (a website providing social media analytics to measure user influence) to recognize me as a “specialist.”
- Top Three Employment & Labour Boutiques in Canada – My previous firm, Rudner MacDonald LLP, was voted one of the Top Three Employment & Labour Boutiques in Canada in Canadian HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Awards in 2016 and 2017 (the first two years these awards were given out).
I was also honoured that when the Human Resources Professionals Association sought to be part of the grounbreaking case of Keays v. Honda Canada at the Supreme Court of Canada, they chose me to be their counsel. Going to the Supreme Court so early in my career was a thrill!
In addition to advising and advocating, I like educating. I chair and teach at conferences, and I am the founding Program Director of Osgoode Professional Development’s HR Law for HR Professionals course and the co-founding Program Director of their Advanced HR Law for HR Professionals course. I have written two books, You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada and Ultimate Software’s Canadian HR Law, and contributed portions of several other texts, including Bullen & Leake & Jacob’s Canadian Precedents Of Pleadings, Canadian Employment Law Answers. I have also been part of several Editorial Advisory Boards. In addition to my firm blogs, I am the author of Thomson Reuters’ Canadian HR Law Blog, a contributor to the First Reference Talks blog, and the Labour and Employment Columnist for The Lawyers Daily. And I am flattered to be regularly contacted by the media for comment on matters relating to Employment Law.
I grew up in Montreal and now live in Toronto with my amazing wife, who inspires me with her passion for teaching our youth, and our two amazing kids. I am a fervent hockey fan, and love watching the game, whether it is NHL, AHL, or my son’s team. I also love live music and spending time in a park or at the beach (even if I have my phone with me so I can stay connected). On that point, I am a firm believer in using technology to make my life easier without sacrificing the needs of my clients. Rather than being chained to my desk, I can be out and about with my family. I may be at the rink, but you will find me if you need help.