Richard J. Charney

Global Head of Employment and Labour
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Richard J. Charney

Richard J. Charney


Related services and key industries


Richard Charney is global head of our employment and labour practice. 

Mr. Charney practises management labour relations and employment law, a field in which he is widely recognized as an advocate on behalf of national and local clients. He acts for numerous employers and employers’ organizations and appears at provincial and federal labour relations boards and the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and before rights and interest labour arbitration tribunals. He also advises on all matters of employment and labour law and legislative reform.

Mr. Charney’s practice also involves collective bargaining on behalf of employers, employment standards, human rights, wrongful dismissal, workplace health and safety and constitutional law. 

He is particularly active as an advocate before national labour tribunals such as the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which has jurisdiction over transportation and similar national industries; the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which has jurisdiction in provincial industries such as construction; and in judicial review challenges to tribunal determinations in the federal and provincial superior courts. 

He is also a leading labour counsel to a variety of well-known arts and cultural organizations in Canada.

Professional experience

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LL.M., University of Cambridge, 1982
LL.B., Western University, 1980
  • Ontario 1983


Mr. Charney has successfully acted for the following clients:

  • A provincial employers' organization, where an arbitrator rejected a union grievance claiming that a number of employers were in violation of the recently increased minimum wage, when their hourly rate fell below the minimum wage but the entire compensation package exceeded it
  • A provincial transportation undertaking, where the Ontario Divisional Court was convinced to uphold an arbitration award that sustained the employer's decision to eliminate free transportation passes for the guests of employees
  • A provincial transportation undertaking, wherein the Ontario Divisional Court overturned an arbitration award which, if sustained, would have expanded a union's bargaining rights
  • A provincial electric power utility at arbitration, establishing the right of an employer to terminate the employment of a unionized employee who underperforms
  • A provincial power utility against an unfair labour practice accusation at the Ontario Labour Relations Board with respect to conduct before and during strike activity
  • A major pulp and paper producer in a judicial review challenge to an arbitration decision that concluded the employer discriminated when it provided different benefits to employees on long-term disability than to employees under workers’ compensation coverage. The Ontario Divisional Court quashed the arbitrator’s ruling
  • A variety of employers at the Ontario Labour Relations Board concerning jurisdictional assignments on construction sites
  • An Ontario-based broadcaster at arbitration with respect to a union challenge to a management decision to the effect that an employee with seniority was unqualified for a particular position
  • A media outlet against a union attempt to convince the Ontario Labour Relations Board to consolidate city-based bargaining units into a province-wide unit
  • A construction association in which an interest arbitrator substantially adopted the proposal put forward by the employer and rejected the union position
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2020: recommended in Employment Law; Labour Relations; Labour Relations  -  Construction Sector
  • Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, 2020: most frequently recommended in the area of Labour Law
  • The Legal 500 Canada: Labour and Employment (Leading Lawyer), 2020
  • Chambers Global, Canada: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2017-2020
  • Chambers Canada, Ontario: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2016-2021
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Labour and Employment Law, 2006-2021
  • Who’s Who Legal, Canada 2014-2015: Labour & Employment
  • The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers, 2011-2013
  • "Construction Labour: Top 5 Things You Need to Know," The Osgoode Certificate in Construction Law, November 2, 2018, and December 1, 2017, Toronto, ON.
  • "Drugs & Alcohol in the World of Cannabis: To Test or Not to Test: That is the Question," Norton Rose Fulbright Employment Law Conference, May 8, 2018, Brampton,ON.
  • "Human Rights and the Canadian Workplace: The Right to Equality, The Freedom to Associate" (lecturer), Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, April 30, 2018, Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • "Marijuana in the Workplace," Sarnia Construction Association, January 18, 2018, Sarnia, ON.
  • Co-Chair, Insight 8th Biennial Construction Labour Relations Conference, November 6 and 7, 2017, Toronto, ON.
  • "The New Era of Workplace Drug & Alcohol Testing," Insight 8th Biennial Construction Labour Relations Conference, November 6, 2017, Toronto, ON.
  • "Picking a Fight: Strategies, Tragedies and Triumphs," Norton Rose Fulbright Employment Law Conference, May 9, 2017, Brampton, ON.
  • "Law, Work and Family Care: A Symposium," York University, February 18, 2017, Toronto, ON.
  • "Freedom of Expression and the Right to Demonstrate at Airports," Airports Council International World Annual General Assembly, September 24, 2016, Montreal, QC.
  • "Litigating Labour Cases: Can an Employer Win?" Norton Rose Fulbright Employment Law Conference, May 17, 2016, Brampton, ON.
  • American Employment Law Council, 2014 to present
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (elected 2012)
  • Member, Tel Aviv University International Board of Governors, 2017 to present
  • Adjunct professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 2006-2015
  • Faculty member, Osgoode Hall Law School Graduate Program (instructor in collective bargaining), 2001-2002