Employment in Belgium

Claeys & Engels

Claeys & Engels has an excellent reputation for its established strength in human resources law. The practice operates out of its six offices and is able to advise a client base - made up exclusively of companies, drawn from a range of sectors - on the whole spectrum of employment matters; recent work includes assisting five industries with their company-wide pension schemes. Key names in the group include Chris EngelsOlivier WoutersOlivier Debray and Jan Van Gysegem.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP houses a team of 'highly skilled and experienced professionals', who provide 'hands-on advice' to domestic and multinational clients on pensions and employee benefits, compliance matters, collective bargaining agreements and restructurings, to name a few areas. Christian Bayart leads the team, which includes 'good negotiator' Inge Vanderreken.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS's 'dedicated' team combines 'excellent strength in depth' with 'in-depth knowledge of the market'. Practice head Philippe De Wulf 'delivers pragmatic advice'; he is assisting a life sciences company with a restructuring and sequenced dismissal procedure following its acquisition of another entity. Sven Demeulemeester, who is well known for his expertise in sports law, advised the Algerian Football Association on the dismissal of its head coach and two assistant coaches.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is adept at handling collective bargaining, transactional support, restructuring, and collective dismissal programmes. François Gabriel heads the department, which includes key contacts Nancy Luyten and Sebastian Burg.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Paul Geerebaert ('who always strives to find the best solutions') leads Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's team, which has a 'pragmatic approach' to, among other areas, contentious work, collective dismissals, discrimination claims, and transactional support matters. Managing partner Vincent Busschaert is also a name to note.

Linklaters

Collective and individual dismissal cases have formed the backbone of the recent workload for Linklaters' team. Other instructions include health and safety matters, discrimination issues, restructuring, social security issues and collective bargaining. Luc Vanaverbeke is the key contact. Elke Duden moved to CMS in May 2018.

Loyens & Loeff

'Proven specialist in the field' Filip Saelens heads Loyens & Loeff's 'proactive' employment team, which recently assisted BNP Paribas Fortis with implementing a flexible renumeration scheme for over 14,000 employees via a bitcoin system. The group also includes Kris De Schutter, who has 'excellent communication skills', and counsel Marga Caproni.

Lydian

Lydian's 'very responsive' team is singled out for its 'very dynamic spirit and client-focused approach'. Jan Hofkens is 'a great employment lawyer'; he jointly heads the practice with the 'outstanding' Alexander Vandenbergen, who is the key name for pensions work. In a major highlight, the team assisted the Flemish Department of Integration with a prominent transition project, which involved the collective dismissal of over 180 employees.

Stibbe

A recent highlight for the group at Stibbe was acting for radio network company RTL in a high-profile restructuring and collective dismissal procedure. Elisabeth Matthys and Jérôme Aubertin are the key names. Herman Craeninckx moved to Strelia in September 2018.

Van Olmen & Wynant

Van Olmen & Wynant's 'strong team masters all aspects of employment law'. Practice head Chris Van Olmen is widely regarded as a leading practitioner in the market, and is advising Proximus on restructuring matters. Newly promoted partners Nicolas Simon and Vincent Vuylsteke are names to note. Other clients include bpost and Ted Baker.

Bird & Bird

Pieter De Koster's group at Bird & Bird is well known for handling a broad spread of employment matters for a client base of prominent international names, including Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Collective dismissals have dominated the team's workload over the past year; compliance matters have also been prominent. Associates Anton Aerts and Mary-Ann Staar are also recommended. Christophe Delmarcelle left the firm in January 2018.

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, the group advised Nikon Metrology on a multi-jurisdictional transfer of employees to ASF Metrology. Other clients include Unilever, Sanoma, Aegon and Coca-Cola. Counsel Gert Cuppens leads the team.

CMS

Gaël Chuffart heads the department at CMS, where the team is assisting Deliveroo with employee status matters. Toyota is another key client. Sophie Berg provides ‘practical and commercially sound advice’. In 2018 Elke Duden joined from Linklaters and Jef Degrauwe retired.

Eubelius

Eubelius houses 'knowledgeable and proactive' lawyers, who report an uptick in restructuring matters and pension cases. Other work includes discrimination, compliance and dismissal-related disputes. Department head Véronique Pertry is noted for 'her outstanding professionalism'. Counsel Liesbet Vandenplas is recommended for 'pragmatic thinking and problem-solving' approach.

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher is well known for its specialty in international employment matters, business migration and social security issues. Department head Stefan Nerinckx provides ongoing assistance to longstanding client Bemis on employment matters, most recently on a high-end dismissal case. Anne Kamp and senior associate Tim Perdieus are names to note.

Jones Day

Jones Day is noted for its strength in handling restructurings, collective bargaining, pensions work and labour relations for a solid client base of pharmaceutical, chemical and automotive companies. Recent work includes assisting Korean Air with restructuring following the closure of its Brussels office. Chantal Biernaux leads the 'very responsive' group.

Deloitte Legal

Stijn Demeestere's practice at Deloitte Legal has been busy handling compliance matters, restructuring and contentious work, among other areas. Julien Hick  is also noted.

NautaDutilh

At NautaDutilh, recent work includes restructurings, collective and individual dismissals, and corporate support matters. Practice head Philippe François 'immediately instils confidence with his assertive approach'. Thierry Duquesne is also noted.

Reliance | Littler

Reliance | Littler specialises in employment law, and is adept at handling the whole spectrum of employment matters, including pensions, social security, litigation, restructuring, and international mobility. In the Mechelen office, Koen De Bisschop and Edward Carlier are the key names, while in the Brussels base, Anne-Valérie Michaux and Erwin Crabeels are the key contacts.

Sotra

Sotra's 'professional' team attracts praise for its 'excellent knowledge of social law', and has been kept busy with large-scale restructurings, employee transfers, collective bargaining agreements, and compliance matters. Advisory and contentious work is also featured in the group's workload.  Practice head and managing partner Olivier Rijckaert is 'very well informed'; he is representing two prominent Walloon cities, Namur and Liège, in litigation concerning social security contributions. Other key names include the 'proactive' counsel Marian Dewaersegger and Noël Lambert.

Younity

Younity’s team attracts praise for its ‘practical and sound’ advice and 'pragmatic approach'. Managing partner Jean-Philippe Cordier is well known in this space, and is advising Generali Belgium on the employment aspects of the sale of its activities in Belgium. The 'very responsive' Brecht Cops is ‘outstanding’. Corinne Merla is an expert in pensions law.

Ambos NBGO Advocaten

Ambos NBGO Advocaten’s practice is jointly headed by Carl Bevernage and Damien Stas de Richelle. The team's expertise spans unfair dismissals, discrimination claims, restructurings, pensions and employee benefits, and health and safety matters. The client base includes Indeed, Spandex and the European Travel Commission.

Crowell & Moring

The 'very responsive' team at Crowell & Moring is led by the 'good negotiator' Emmanuel Plasschaert, who recently assisted Veldhoven Belgium with two termination cases and, in another matter, is advising Vias on its ongoing reorganisation. Senior counsel Frederik Van Remoortel and associate Evelien Jamaels are also noted.

DLA Piper

The 'very dedicatedEddy Lievens leads DLA Piper's employment practice, which has been handling collective dismissals, pensions cases, contentious work and health and safety matters.

Janson

Dismissal-related disputes and restructuring matters have been prominent in the recent workload for Janson's team, which handles work from its Brussels and Nivelles offices. The client base includes Becton Dickinson, Philip Morris International and Key Technology. Johan Kerremans  is a key contact.

K Law

K Law reports an increase in instructions from public sector clients, with a focus on pension law matters. Other recent work includes dismissal-related disputes and health and safety matters. Alexis Ceuterick heads the team.

Monard Law

Monard Law’s employment practice was recently bolstered by the arrival of Bert Theeuwes from Kelley Drye & Warren LLP; Theeuwes has notable expertise across the spectrum of employment matters, especially in transnational issues involving business migration and EU social security law. Peter Dufaux and Tom Messiaen are also key names.

Osborne Clarke

The 'always available' Thierry Viérin leads Osborne Clarke's 'extremely responsive' team, which attracts praise for providing 'high-quality advice'. The group has established strength in representing employer clients from the technology, life sciences and biotech sectors. The group also includes senior counsel Vinciane Rysselinck and senior associate Johanna Van Herreweghen.

Thales

At Thales, Marie Michaud-Nérard and Olivier Scheuer are the key contacts for employment work. Past instructions for the group include collective dismissals, social security matters, and discrimination cases, among other areas.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis' team advises on compliance matters, contentious work, social security cases and corporate support for clients primarily drawn from the life sciences sector. Practice head Catherine Longeval is well known for her expertise in litigation, and garners praise for her 'clear and calm advice'.

Van Eeckhoutte, Taquet & Clesse

Van Eeckhoutte, Taquet & Clesse is very well known for its expertise in labour and social security law, with a practice that takes in collective bargaining, dismissals, restructurings, pensions, and employee benefits, to name a few areas. Willy van Eeckhoutte is a highly regarded practitioner in employment law; Wim Van Roeyen and Peter Michielsen are also noted.

Verhaegen Walravens

Recent work for Verhaegen Walravens’ employment practice includes health and safety matters, termination cases, and immigration issues. Department head Catherine Preumont 'knows labour law very well'.