Employment in Belgium

Claeys & Engels

Chris Engels and Olivier Wouters share leadership of Claeys & Engels' practice, which is highly regarded in the market for its excellent capabilities across the spectrum of human resources law. The 'very knowledgeable' team provides 'very practical advice' to a client base made up solely of companies - mostly in the private sector - on the full range of employment matters. Recent instructions include assisting with pension matters and restructuring issues. Key contacts in the practice include the 'accessible' Inger Verhelst and Sophie Maes.

Practice head(s):

Chris Engels; Olivier Wouters

Other key lawyers:

Inger Verhelst; Sophie Maes

Allen & Overy LLP

Christian Bayart's group at Allen & Overy LLP is adept at assisting multinational and domestic clients with a wide spectrum of employment matters, including collective bargaining agreements, contentious work, individual and collective dismissals and pensions and employee benefits. Inge Vanderreken is a key name.

Practice head(s):

Christian Bayart

Other key lawyers:

Inge Vanderreken

ALTIUS

Philippe De Wulf leads the 'very hands-on and approachable' team at ALTIUS. The 'very responsive, practical and user-friendly' group advises a client base of domestic and international clients from a broad range of sectors on employee transfers, collective dismissals, restructuring and litigation, to name a few areas. Sports law expert Sven Demeulemeester 'readily applies his legal mindset on the practical issues to come up with a workable solution that is easily implemented'.

Practice head(s):

Philippe De Wulf

Other key lawyers:

Sven Demeulemeester

Testimonials

Philippe De Wulf is our main contact. He ensures a consistently high level of service whether from him or a member of his team‘.

Sven Demeulemeester is a one-of-a-kind lawyer, having an excellent knowledge of his field of law combined with strong business acumen‘.

Sven Demeulemeester combines excellent legal skills with sharp business acumen, delivers pragmatic solutions that work in real life, is always available, and is able to think outside the box‘.

Key clients

4PX International Express

EBA Clearing

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

A recent highlight for the 'very responsive' group at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL was advising Turkish food group Yildiz Holding on the employment aspects of its high-profile sale of the GODIVA Chocolatier production facility in Belgium. Nancy Luyten heads the department, which includes highly regarded employment practitioner François Gabriel and Sebastian Burg.

Practice head(s):

Nancy Luyten

Other key lawyers:

François Gabriel; Sebastian Burg

Key clients

Yildiz Holding

Eubelius

Eubelius has 'a passionate and engaged team that thinks outside the box'. The practice has been handling pension cases, discrimination disputes, and collective dismissals over the past year. Restructuring matters have also featured in the group's workload. Practice head Véronique Pertry is 'an accomplished professional'; counsel Liesbet Vandenplas is 'a top lawyer'.

Practice head(s):

Véronique Pertry

Other key lawyers:

Liesbet Vandenplas

Testimonials

They take a very personal and individual approach to their cases, are easy to reach and very available for questions. They also understand the need for a strategic approach in cases and how to develop an argument to set a precedent or highlight a legal issue that needs further clarification in case law. They have a proactive way of communicating and are punctual in meeting deadlines‘.

Véronique Pertry and Liesbet Vandenplas have extensive experience in employment law‘.

Liesbet Vandenplas is available to her clients, always gets back to you when you tried reaching her, is correct and complete in her communications and has an extensive knowledge of the area of discrimination law and the cases of her clients‘.

Key clients

The Belgian Minister of Pensions

Enabel

Thalys International

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Ghent University

Fedrus International

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men before the Labour Court in Belgium in a number of discrimination cases.
  • Assisted Ghent University with implementing supplementary pension plans for staff members.
  • Assisting Fedrus International with a restructuring, involving a collective dismissal procedure.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's team garners praise for its 'extensive knowledge in employment law', and offers 'thorough, practical, no nonsense and tailor-made advice' on collective dismissals, restructurings, dismissal-related disputes, discrimination claims and contentious matters, to name a few areas. Practice head Paul Geerebaert is 'a dedicated lawyer, very knowledgeable and responsive'. Managing partner Vincent Busschaert is also a key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Paul Geerebaert

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Busschaert

Testimonials

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick has an excellent and very knowledgeable team‘.

They are punctual, motivated and passionate about the law and their cases‘.

Paul Geerebaert has an outstanding reputation. He has a strong sense of urgency and gives each client a feeling of top priority‘.

Key clients

Mercedes-Benz Belgium Luxembourg

Ingenico

SABAM

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Betafence Belgium

Work highlights

  • Assisted SABAM with a number of dismissal cases, including the termination of the employment agreement of its CEO and HR director.
  • Assisting security systems company Betafence Belgium with the collective dismissal of 80 employees.

Loyens & Loeff

Filip Saelens heads Loyens & Loeff's employment team, which stands out for its 'pragmatic and fast advice'. Restructurings, employee benefits, transactional support matters and business migration issues have been prominent in the group's workload. Kris De Schutter is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Filip Saelens

Other key lawyers:

Kris De Schutter

Key clients

Greenyard

British Airways

Goodyear

Alcon

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Work highlights

  • Advising Greenyard on an international restructuring, involving over 400 employees across multiple countries.
  • Advising SD Worx on a potential restructuring involving around 500 employees; the client is attempting to avoid a collective dismissal.

Lydian

Lydian's team is 'very practical in its approach, help clients immediately further with the next step and always available for urgent and quick questions'. Pensions work has formed the backbone of the recent workload for the group; other instructions include high-end dismissal cases, contentious work, collective dismissals and compliance matters. The 'very responsive' Jan Hofkens jointly heads the practice with pensions law expert Alexander Vandenbergen.

Practice head(s):

Jan Hofkens; Alexander Vandenbergen

Testimonials

They are practical, to the point, co-operative and always available and easy to reach‘.

Key clients

Henrad

Sabam

Baloise

British American Tobacco

Scandinavian Tobacco Group

The Walt Disney Company

Nike

Work highlights

  • Assisting UPS with a European restructuring, involving a collective dismissal of employees in Belgium.
  • Assisting Essenscia with transferring a pension plan portfolio for around 5,000 companies following the termination of the client’s former insurance company by the Belgian pensions regulator.  

Stibbe

Stibbe's 'pragmatic, focused and efficient' team is 'very knowledgeable and diligent but also very practical'. The practice takes in pensions work, collective bargaining, restructuring and collective dismissals. Advisory work also features in the group's workload. Elisabeth Matthys and the 'always calm' Jérôme Aubertin jointly lead the team.

Practice head(s):

Elisabeth Matthys; Jérôme Aubertin

Testimonials

This team works very well together‘.

Elisabeth Matthys – very commercial, extremely reactive and always provides excellent advice. Very popular with our clients. An extremely safe pair of hands‘.

Elisabeth Matthys is a very good lawyer and it is a pleasure to work with her‘.

Key clients

Swissport Cargo Services Belgium

Bridgestone Europe

Atos Belgium

Kinepolis

Work highlights

  • Representing a prominent bank in a dispute with an insurance company concerning the management of a pension plan.
  • Advising Sports Vlaanderen on the implementation of codes of conduct for handling claims of sexual harassment.

Van Olmen & Wynant

Van Olmen & Wynant is very well known for its established expertise in the field of employment law. The 'very responsive and user-friendly' team recently assisted Adidas with restructuring following the closure of its administrative headquarters in Belgium and subsequent transferral to the Netherlands. Department head Chris Van Olmen has an excellent reputation for his longstanding expertise in employment law. Key names in the group include Nicolas Simon, the 'very approachableVincent Vuylsteke, and associates Thomas De Jongh ('friendly, smart and calm under pressure') and Gautier Busschaert.

Practice head(s):

Chris Van Olmen

Testimonials

Friendly, yet professional. Very knowledgeable. They take to the time to explain matters in terms we can all understand. Reliable, we can always count on them, even at short notice‘.

Very client focused. Business mind-set and not merely theoretical‘.

Thomas De Jongh: flexible, responsive, straightforward‘.

Key clients

Bpost

Ted Baker

Proximus

Adidas

Work highlights

  • Acting for a French group of chemical companies in a dispute with a former CEO of its Belgian affiliate company regarding a claim of unfair dismissal.
  • Assisted DHL Worldwide Network and Deutsche Post with a high-end dismissal case.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's team is 'very practical, with a business solution mindset'. Compliance matters have been prominent in the group's workload over the past year; restructuring, dismissals and contentious work has also been prominent. The client base includes prominent life sciences and technology entities. Pieter De Koster heads the department; counsel Cecilia Lahaye and senior associate Anton Aerts are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Pieter De Koster

Other key lawyers:

Cecilia Lahaye; Anton Aerts

Key clients

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

Gilead Sciences

Colgate-Palmolive

Work highlights

  • Assisting Teva Pharmaceutical Industries with litigation across a number of jurisdictions regarding employees not being awarded a bonus at the end of 2017; this was a result of a prominent restructuring programme, involving a number of terminations, following a poor financial performance.    
  • Advised Colgate-Palmolive on a Belgian restructuring case, involving a collective dismissal procedure.

Clifford Chance

The 'smart and commercially sensible' counsel Gert Cuppens leads the team at Clifford Chance, which is assisting Pasec NV with a collective dismissal of over 100 employees. Other areas of instruction include restructuring, employee transfers and termination cases.

Practice head(s):

Gert Cuppens

Key clients

Unilever

Coca-Cola

Volkswagen

Nikon Metrology

Work highlights

  • Advising Volkswagen on the social security aspects of the transfer of 80 employees from Volkswagen Germany to Audi Belgium.

CMS

The 'pragmatic' team at CMS has been kept busy with pensions work, restructuring matters, employee status issues, employee transfers and transactional mandates, among other areas. Gaël Chuffart, Sophie Berg and pensions expert Elke Duden are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Gaël Chuffart; Sophie Berg; Elke Duden

Testimonials

Sophie Berg is very good – understands our business and is willing to go the extra mile to support us‘.

Key clients

Euroclear

Sanofi

Toyota

Work highlights

  • Advising Toyota on restructurings, involving multiple dismissals, and defending the client against claims of alleged discrimination based on gender.

Deloitte

Recent work for Deloitte's employment practice includes restructuring matters, individual and collective dismissals and employee benefits. Practice head Stijn Demeestere is 'very professional, reliable and efficient'. Julien Hick  is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Stijn Demeestere

Other key lawyers:

Julien Hick

Key clients

Matexi

Agilitas

Ghent University Hospital

Work highlights

  • Assisting a multinational life sciences company with the employment law aspects of the preparation for an intra-group merger.

DLA Piper

The 'very professional and highly experienced' team at DLA Piper is led by the 'very practical and commercially oriented' Eddy Lievens. Recent work for the 'excellent' group includes large-scale restructurings, health and safety matters and dismissal-related disputes. Laurent De Surgeloose, senior associate Frederic Brasseur and senior associate Pierre Dion are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Eddy Lievens

Testimonials

This team is very reachable, communicative and responsive. They deliver highly qualitative work within very tight deadlines‘.

Eddy Lievens’ knowledge about employment law (and even other areas of business law) is limitless‘.

Laurent De Surgeloose is a stand out partner in this team. He is extremely technical but at the same time very practical in his advice. He is always responsive and a true trusted adviser‘.

Key clients

Audi

Pfizer

Spotify

Jump

Karen Millen

Emirates

Work highlights

  • Advising Jump, an affiliate company of Uber, on the employment aspects of beginning its operations in Belgium.  
  • Successfully defended airline company Emirates against a discrimination claim, which was brought by a former employee on the grounds of disability and alleged harassment.  
  • Assisting financial services company Staples with the relocation of its treasury and accounting centre from Hasselt to its European headquarters in Amsterdam, as well as advising the client on employee relocation issues.

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher's 'practical' employment team has established expertise in handling international employment matters; recent work includes assisting clients with business migration and employee benefits issues. The 'always available' Stefan Nerinckx leads the team; Anne Kamp and 'reliable' senior associate Tim Perdieus are key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Nerinckx

Other key lawyers:

Anne Kamp; Tim Perdieus

Testimonials

Availability, expertise, transparency and innovation are some of the qualities of Stefan Nerinckx’s team‘.

Stefan Nerinckx is pragmatic and clients like dealing with him, because of his knowledge, commitment and problem solving capabilities‘.

Key clients

Bemis

Blount International

Griffith Foods

Work highlights

  • Assisted Blount International with implementing the new legislation on protecting trade secrets.
  • Assisting longstanding client Bemis with the employment law aspects of its merger with Amcor.

Jones Day

Jones Day houses a 'very strong' team, which has solid expertise in advising prominent international clients on employee transfers, termination cases, restructurings and contentious work. Department head Chantal Biernaux is 'a very strong leader who always brings results'. Associate Virginie Vercheval is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Chantal Biernaux

Other key lawyers:

Virginie Vercheval

Testimonials

Chantal Biernaux stands out as a highly qualified, diplomatic and business oriented lawyer‘.

Chantal Biernaux is a brilliant lawyer, thorough and business-minded‘.

Virginie Vercheval – very bright and has a great future‘.

Key clients

Aleris

Korean Air

Mastercard

Platinum Equity

Lifeline Scientific

PolyOne Corporation

Work highlights

  • Assisting Korean Air with ongoing restructuring following the closure of its Brussels office.
  • Assisting PolyOne International with an EU restructuring process, involving the transfer of employees from 19 countries to branches in Luxembourg.
  • Representing MasterCard in litigation relating to the termination of employees.

Linklaters

Past work for the team at Linklaters includes discrimination issues, collective and individual dismissal cases, restructuring, health and safety matters, collective bargaining and social security matters. Luc Vanaverbeke is the name to note.

Practice head(s):

Luc Vanaverbeke

NautaDutilh

At NautaDutilh, the 'pragmatic' group is assisting Groupe PSA with transferring all the pension plans of Opel Belgium's employees from General Motor's pension fund to a new pension vehicle, following the client's takeover of Opel Belgium. Department head Philippe François garners praise for his 'ability to understand clients' needs and provide practical solutions'. Thierry Duquesne is a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Philippe François

Other key lawyers:

Thierry Duquesne

Testimonials

Good lawyers, good people, good advices and business orientated‘.

Philippe François and Thierry Duquesne are seasoned employment partners used to dealing with high profile international clients‘.

Key clients

Groupe PSA

The Body Shop

FedEx

AstraZeneca

Gilead

Sanofi

Generali

Sotra

Sotra has 'excellent expertise' in employment law, and has been particularly busy with collective dismissals, collective bargaining agreements and contentious work. The group is also adept at handling restructurings, advisory work and compliance issues. Managing partner Olivier Rijckaert leads the team, in which Noël Lambert is a key contact. Marian Dewaersegger was promoted to partner in September 2018.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Rijckaert

Other key lawyers:

Marian Dewaersegger; Noël Lambert

Key clients

Delhaize

Aldi

The Walloon Government

ASL Airlines Belgium

Work highlights

  • Advising FNAC Belgium on all aspects of a collective dismissal procedure.
  • Assisting non-profit organisation Samusocial with a collective dismissal and the closure of part of the organisation.

Younity

Jean-Philippe Cordier heads the department at Younity. Collective dismissals, advisory work, restructurings and litigation have been prominent in the team's recent workload. Brecht Cops has established expertise in employment litigation. Managing partner Corinne Merla counts pensions law as a key strength.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Philippe Cordier

Other key lawyers:

Brecht Cops; Corinne Merla

Key clients

ArcleorMittal

AXA

BNP Paribas Fortis

Michelin

Ambos

At Ambos NBGO Advocaten, Carl Bevernage and Damien Stas de Richelle are the key names for employment matters. The group is perhaps best known for acting for employers in a range of matters, including employee benefits and termination cases.

Practice head(s):

Carl Bevernage; Damien Stas de Richelle

Key clients

The European Travel Commission

Indeed

Eurochem

Spandex

MVH Logistics & Stuwadoring

Work highlights

  • Representing Netherlands-based sea containers comapny MVH Logistics & Stuwadoring in a claim against the Belgian National Office for Social Security, regarding a dispute over whether the company’s employees who work regularly in Belgium are subject to the Belgian social security regime for salaried workers.
  • Advised the European Travel Commission on termination matters.

Crowell & Moring

Crowell & Moring has a 'strong practice both on individual and collective employment law'. Recent instructions for the team include restructuring matters and dismissal-related disputes. Emmanuel Plasschaert leads the group; recently promoted partner Frederik Van Remoortel and associate Evelien Jamaels are also key names.

Practice head(s):

Emmanuel Plasschaert

Testimonials

Emmanuel Plasschaert is an excellent employment lawyer, very responsive, pragmatic and solution orientated‘.

Key clients

Adecco

Veldhoven Belgium

Vias

Oxera Consulting

Work highlights

  • Assisting Veldhoven Belgium with a restructuring matter, following the closure of a shop in Belgium.

Curia

Recent work for Curia’s 'direct and solutions-oriented' team includes discrimination issues, individual and collective dismissals and collective bargaining agreements. Guido LamalEls LeenaertsPeter Roosens and Jurgen Goyvaerts are key names.

Practice head(s):

Guido Lamal; Els Leenaerts; Peter Roosens; Jurgen Goyvaerts

Key clients

Belgian Cockpit Association

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Vulpia

Levi Strauss

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Belgian Cockpit Association with negotiating its first collective bargaining agreement between Belgian pilots and Ryanair.
  • Acted for the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men in a discrimination case, in which a male candidate brought a claim against a women’s clothing shop after his application was rejected on the grounds of his gender; the claim was successful.

Janson

Johan Kerremans  and Jacques van Drooghenbroeck jointly lead Janson's 'very responsive and practical' team, which operates out of both its Brussels and Nivelles offices. Recent instructions for the group have included restructuring matters, health and safety issues and dismissal-related disputes.

Practice head(s):

Johan Kerremans; Jacques van Drooghenbroeck

Testimonials

They are diligent in what they do, irrespective of the size of the client. They think along with the client and put the client’s interests first‘.

Key clients

Becton Dickinson

Key Technology

Cesi Group

SOL Group

CHR Haute Senne

Work highlights

  • Assisted a pharmaceutical company with the reorganisation of its European business.
  • Assisted a technological sector client with the relocation of its activities to France and the closure of its Belgian subsidiary.

K Law

Alexis Ceuterick is the key name at K Law, which provides 'workable concrete advice' on dismissals, migration issues, collective labour agreements and termination cases, to name a few areas. In October 2019 Mary-Ann Staar joined from Bird & Bird as counsel.

Practice head(s):

Alexis Ceuterick

Other key lawyers:

Mary-Ann Staar

Monard Law

Monard Law’s 'hands-on and pragmatic approach is a great asset'. The team provides 'prompt and to the point advice' on a range of employment matters, and has notable strength in handling cases with a transnational flavour. Bert Theeuwes ('strong analytical skills and an eye for detail'), Peter Dufaux ('outstanding') and the 'direct' Tom Messiaen are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Bert Theeuwes; Peter Dufaux; Tom Messiaen

Testimonials

Bert Theeuwes is very knowledgeable and solutions-oriented‘.

Work highlights

  • Advising a prominent gas and oil company on all aspects of its business reorganisation.

Osborne Clarke

At Osborne Clarke, recent instructions for the 'knowledgeable' team have included cross-border employment matters, restructuring, and termination issues. The client roster includes retail, life sciences, technology and real estate entities. Thierry Viérin heads the department, which includes senior counsel Vinciane Rysselinck and counsel Johanna Van Herreweghen.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Viérin

Testimonials

Accurate professional knowledge‘.

We usually work with Johanna Van Herreweghen and Thierry Viérin. They are excellent sparring partners and they understand the needs of our business in a proactive manner‘.

Reliance | Littler

Employment law is the key specialty at Reliance | Littler, and the group advises clients from a range of sectors on the full spectrum of employment matters; recent instructions include international mobility, restructuring, collective dismissals, litigation and termination cases. Koen De Bisschop is the key name in the Mechelen office; in Brussels, Edward Carlier, Anne-Valérie Michaux, Erwin Crabeels and Stephanie De Ridder are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Koen De Bisschop; Edward Carlier; Anne-Valérie Michaux; Erwin Crabeels; Stephanie De Ridder

Key clients

Mylan

ThromboGenics

European Society of Anaesthesiology

Thales

The 'no-nonsense' team at Thales provides 'good advice' on TUPE matters, collective dismissals, discrimination cases and individual dismissal disputes. Marie Michaud-Nérard and Olivier Scheuer are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Scheuer; Marie Michaud-Nérard

Van Bael & Bellis

The 'extremely experienced' and 'very responsive' team at Van Bael & Bellis has established strength in advising clients from the life sciences sector on social security matters, collective and individual dismissals and compliance matters, and has also been advising on restructurings. Litigation expert and department head Catherine Longeval 'exudes a complete command of her subject'. Counsel Sara Beutels provides 'clear and comprehensive' advice.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Longeval

Other key lawyers:

Sara Beutels

Key clients

Nanocyl

DiaSorin

Gedeon Richter

Work highlights

  • Assisted life sciences company Nanocyl with an international secondment case.
  • Advised Gedeon Richter on dismissal matters.

Verhaegen Walravens

Verhaegen Walravens’ 'very practical' team handles, among other areas, collective bargainings, immigration issues, termination cases and collective dismissals. The 'very pragmatic' Catherine Preumont leads the group.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Preumont

Testimonials

Catherine Preumont has an extensive, yet broad knowledge of employment matters‘.