Employment & Labour

Straightforward Donkor delivers for employers, employees

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

Clients who want to get straight to business go to Toronto employment lawyer John Donkor.

Whether he’s acting for businesses or individual employees, Donkor tells AdvocateDaily.com he prides himself on his “no frills” approach with clients.

“I find that there are some in the business who add a fair amount of fluff to the process, but that’s not my style. I try to be straightforward with clients,” he says.

“For plaintiffs, I want to give them an accurate picture of what they’re looking at in terms of an award or monetary compensation. For defendants or employers, it’s pretty much the same thing, but with a view to understanding what their liability could be, and the strategic steps we can take to limit any further exposure.

“People come to me for the straight goods, and I like to think I deliver in that sense,” Donkor adds.

Donkor, principal of Donkor Employment & Labour Law, had his sights set on a legal career from an early age, capitalizing on a lively home life to hone his advocacy skills.

“I grew up in a West African family, where you always had to make a case for everything,” he explains. “I was very familiar with my own skill set, and was on that path since high school.”

After completing undergraduate studies in political science at Western University, Donkor quickly found his calling in labour and employment law while studying at Queen’s University’s law school, whose faculty is renowned for its expertise in the area.

“I have been working in one way or another since I was 12, whether delivering papers or washing dishes, so it was a subject that has always fascinated me,” says Donkor, who collected the Vincent Principi Memorial Award for Labour Law during his time at Queen’s.

Since his call to the bar in 2006, employment and labour law have remained his focus, albeit from a variety of angles.

In addition to his time with a large Bay Street firm and the country’s biggest human resources law boutique, Donkor also worked in-house for two of the largest school boards in the province. That included a stint as manager of the legal and labour relations department at the Peel District School Board before he took on a non-legal role heading up the Toronto District School Board’s human rights and employment equity department.

Since opening his own firm, Donkor’s practice is primarily split between employment law and human rights matters, acting on behalf of both employees and employers. Smaller portions of his work focus on labour law and workplace investigations, which is when his school board experience really kicks in.

“I completed a number of investigations during my tenure, and also oversaw and directed them internally,” Donkor says. “I’m very well versed in the process both as a practitioner, but also as an internal legal and human resources professional, from the time the complaint comes in, all the way to delivering findings and advising on their potential consequences.”

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