Firms To Watch: Employment

AKD's newly founded labour practice draws on the firm's multinational presence. Led by Julien Hick, the team advises a diverse roster of corporate clients on the full scope of employment law matters, with recent engagements including restructurings and working policy overhauls.
Helmed by the seasoned corporate adviser Sylvie Lacombe, Tetra Law's employment law capabilities encompass reorganisations, dismissals, TUPE transfers, and discrimination allegations before the labour courts. Collective dismissals and whistleblowing cases are further core competencies.

Employment in Belgium

Claeys & Engels

Working across six offices nationwide, Claeys & Engels' boutique employment law practice enjoys a stellar reputation among its formidable roster of blue-chip domestic and international clients. Best known for its work in the finance, food, transport, and manufacturing sectors, public sector mandates are, increasingly, a core focus for the group. The large team is jointly led by two partners: chairman Chris Engels, an expert in dismissal and European labour law; and Olivier Wouters , a specialist in reorganisations and collective bargaining who also serves as the firm’s managing partner. Inger Verhelst  is recommended for her capabilities in individual and collective labour law issues, including discrimination cases, and often appears before the labour courts and European Court of Justice.

Practice head(s):

Chris Engels; Olivier Wouters

Other key lawyers:

Inger Verhelst

Testimonials

‘The C&E team is highly professional and complementary: experts working very well together to combine expertise in advice that is looked at from different perspectives.’

‘The major difference with other legal firms I have worked with is the exceptional combination of technically correct and smart advice that is at the same time pragmatic and operational: no ivory tower approach, on the contrary.’

‘C&E’s main strength is the pairing of strong technical expertise with pragmatic advice. In particular: – Best in class for employment law – Talented people – Client minded and eager to learn about the client – Accessible, available & responsive – Very much solution oriented – Openness to new technology – Transparency in billing. In short, a truly modern law firm as it should be.’

‘I predominantly work with Chris Engels. Chris stands out for the depth of his experience and expertise whilst never losing sight of a sensible and workable solution for the client. You feel confident with his advice. A great pleasure to work with.’

‘They are very hands-on and practical.’

‘Claeys & Engels combines solid and very professional knowledge in labour law issues with a keen eye on how to approach this in day to day operational HR practice.’

‘Our collaboration with Olivier Wauters is excellent, his flexible approach and outstanding legal knowledge is combined with a practical and down to earth mind, that keeps track on the day to day HR practice.’

Allen & Overy LLP

Leveraging its premier global reputation, Allen & Overy LLP works with both Belgian and international clients on a litany of employment and benefits matters, including high-value, multi-jurisdictional cases before various courts and tribunals. Workforce restructurings, collective bargaining proceedings, and executive compensation packages are further core competencies for the Antwerp-based team. Practice head Christian Bayart routinely advises various entities on the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious labour law issues, including employee benefits and occupational pensions. Inge Vanderreken‘s broad practice encompasses European works councils, employee investigations, and social security law, while collective and individual employment law-focused associate Virginie Vercheval has most recently been engaged on a number of Covid-19-related instructions.

Practice head(s):

Christian Bayart

Other key lawyers:

Inge Vanderreken; Virginie Vercheval; Bart Franceus

Testimonials

‘The team acts and thinks as if they were part of our company.’

‘Christian Bayart and Bart Franceus are very dedicated to our company. They know the history and sensitive subjects in our company. They show a lot of empathy towards our internal way of working and can at the same time, suggest practical but legally correct solutions. They can really help us to consider our ‘problems’ from another angle, to find a correct solution.’

‘I have had a highly responsive service from the A&O team in Antwerp. It was seamless and readily available. The advice was thorough, clear and actionable, and the follow up support to get things accomplished was timely and I felt a high level of confidence in it.’

‘I valued the personal connection that I had from the team and the absolute commitment to support me in resolving the issues we had all the way through to the end. I felt in incredibly safe hands, they were patient with me and always willing to explore options and provide additional explanations. I really enjoyed working with the team and looked forward to my contact with them.’

‘Allen & Overy really gives business oriented advice, taking into account the strict legal framework but always being a step ahead when proposing potential solutions. In an employment practice, this is of course due to the people who are really close to the clients and in the format the advice is given.’

‘Christian Bayart gives practical, business-oriented advice with a clear summary that we can use during our internal decision process. Christian is also very approachable when we have questions.’

‘They came out on top because of their proactivity, understanding of the problem and management of resources.’

‘The team is well organised. The legal advice provided is based on thorough analysis of the case against the relevant law. The advice tends to be clear and pragmatic.’

‘The team comes across as very knowledgeable. They are quite flexible in their agenda which make it rather easy to get in touch and organise a meeting. Great with deadlines.’

ALTIUS

Working in tandem with a number of departments with the firm, the ‘proactive and dedicated’ team at ALTIUS handles a multitude of employment matters for various high-profile corporate clients, and maintains a close working relationship with the benefits and compensation team of the Belgian tax firm Tiberghien. Practice head Philippe De Wulf is a port of call for many blue-chip multinational corporations seeking assistance in cross-border workforce restructurings and social security disputes. Sven Demeulemeester is a highly experienced practitioner who is well regarded by clients for his capabilities in collective dismissal procedure and his broad knowledge of sports law. Managing associate Emma Van Caenegem is recommended for her broad domestic and cross-border capabilities, including experience in large restructuring mandates.

Practice head(s):

Philippe De Wulf

Other key lawyers:

Sven Demeulemeester; Emma Van Caenegem

Testimonials

‘The employment team is very proactive and dedicated to its clients. The team is very responsive and it is a pleasure to work with all the team.’

‘I regularly Philippe De Wulf. He is very responsive and he has a great knowledge of Belgian employment law. His advice is always good whatever the situation the clients are dealing with.’

‘Philippe De Wulf is the best partner for your labour issues. He is always focused on obtaining the best solution for the complex matters.’

‘The team is extremely responsive, comes up with innovative solutions, is dedicated to the client to the extreme and quality-wise is second to none in the Brussels market. The depth of their experience surpasses other employment firms or teams. They go beyond even the extra mile and seem to find innovative solutions to every problem for which others often only provide standard answers.’

‘Philippe De Wulf stands out as head of practice and is considered as (one of) the best employment lawyers in Brussels. Responsive, to the point, extremely fast mind, brilliance in analytical skills, focused and driven, very pleasant to work with and a very pleasant person.’

‘The team at Altius are very responsive, practical, cost-effective and user friendly.’

‘Emma Van Caenegem has a deep knowledge of labour legislation, even more importantly about some definite cases of its application in real cases. Emma has great capabilities to revise the case and suggest different possible scenarios, at the same time providing clear and comprehensive advice.’

‘Sven Demeulemeester is a top-notch lawyer with a pragmatic mindset.’

Key clients

AMG

Anderlecht football club

ABE Clearing

UEFA

Mars

4PX

Biogen

C&A

Oracle

Maxeda

Marriott

McCain Foods

Dell Technologies

Canon

Cigna

Juice Plus+ Company

Siemens

Stepstone

Alight NorthgateArinso

Thyssen Krupp Steel Heavy Plate Antwerp

NTT Data

Work highlights

  • Assisting AMG with the closure of its activities in Belgium and the subsequent collective dismissal.
  • Assisting professional footballer Kevin De Bruyne with the extension of his contract with Manchester City FC.
  • Advising and assisting Gilead with the implementation of flexible working regimes following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Led by the ‘responsive, strategic, and insightful’ Nancy Luyten , Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL‘s employment practice handles the full gamut of labour law issues for well-known entities in the TMT, life sciences, retail, heavy industry, and automotive manufacturing industries. Large-scale restructurings are a core competency for the team, which also handles post-M&A employment matters, dismissals, and full-scope HR advisory mandates. Former practice head François Gabriel is a capable adviser in a broad spectrum of matters, including collective bargaining issues and European works councils. Annick Van Hoorebeke is recommended for executive compensation and benefits issues.

Practice head(s):

Nancy Luyten

Other key lawyers:

François Gabriel; Annick Van Hoorebeke

Testimonials

‘The team does a great job of collaborating with the client to completely understand issues that are associated with a particular problem and to identify possible solutions. I most appreciate their focus on working efficiently and proposing practical solutions that save time and money. They also manage client communications very well and do a great job of advising on updates and next steps.’

‘Nancy Luyten is a first-rate counsel. She is responsive, strategic, insightful, personable and collegial. It is always a pleasure to work with her because she treats her clients as partners in the problem-solving process. She is a trusted adviser who has stellar judgment and also expertise in both substantive and procedural areas of the law. These qualities make her highly skilled at handling sensitive personnel matters and matters that are complex in nature. I highly recommend her as an advocate and an adviser.’

Eubelius

Eubelius‘ broad employment and pensions practice works for a strong roster of public and private sector clients, both in Belgium and beyond. Headed up by veteran public sector employment and restructuring specialist Véronique Pertry, the team is routinely engaged on both advisory and contentious mandates, including appearances before the Constitutional Court, the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights. Liesbet Vandenplas is recommended for her strategic legal HR advice and capabilities in settlements and litigation, especially regarding pensions and cross-border labour flows. Sophie Vantomme is recommended for social elections and workplace discrimination matters.

Practice head(s):

Véronique Pertry

Other key lawyers:

Liesbet Vandenplas; Sophie Vantomme; Filip Van Beirendonck

Testimonials

‘Agile employment team, being able to provide really hands-on and business oriented HR and employment law advice. That, combined with the Eubelius business model (top quality for fair pricing), makes this a top team to work with.’

‘Liesbet Vandenplas, for her clear understanding of business needs and balancing with employment law priorities, which is quite rare for employment lawyers. Very high availability and responsiveness.’

‘Very good communication and high quality work.’

‘Filip Van Beirendonck & Véronique Pertry are both professionals and have a lot of specialised knowledge concerning pension funds.’

‘Quick and very secure, quality standards are above expectations.’

‘Personal, warm, professional and dedicated.’

‘Able to deal with diverse and complex matters. The worked proved quite difficult and they showed great patience and thoughtfulness.’

‘Liesbet Vandenplas is calm, reliable, diligent.’

Key clients

Thalys International

European Payment Initiative (EPI)

Fedrus International

Federal Minister of Pensions

De Lijn

Ghent University and Pension Fund

Federal Public Services for Employment and for Social Security

Go!

SD Worx

Federal Institute for Equality between Men and Women

Impextraco

Integrale

Claire’s Belgium

Stad Antwerpen (City of Antwerp)

Enabel

Vlaamse Overheid

Alter Pharma

KS Vriendenkring

Precura

Work highlights

  • Acting as day-to-day lawyers of Thalys’ HR department and advising on various matters, ranging from individual labour law (dismissals, remuneration, work time, data protection) to collective labour law (collective labour agreements, social elections, relations with workers’ representatives) and assistance during a social inspection.
  • Representing the Federal Public Service Employment – Federal Public Service Social Security before various jurisdictions (European Court of Justice, Constitutional court, Council of State, judicial courts).
  • Serving as counsel to EPI in connection with the design and implementation of a new pan-European payment scheme that will be available to all merchants and consumers throughout Europe and, in a subsequent phase, worldwide.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick is highly regarded by clients on account of its ‘extremely responsive and client-focused’ approach to all manner of advisory and contentious labour law matters. The team boasts particular experience in international transfers of undertaking, dismissals (both collective and of protected workers), and trade union negotiations. Practice head Paul Geerebaert is a veteran in the market with significant experience acting for all manner of domestic and international companies before the Belgian labour courts. Vincent Busschaert is a similarly seasoned labour lawyer whose broad practice also encompasses incentive plans and fringe benefits. Leen Holvoet and Chloé Stassart are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Paul Geerebaert

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Busschaert; Leen Holvoet; Chloé Stassart

Testimonials

‘Responsive and appreciate the urgency of the matter at hand.’

‘We absolutely valued the team’s flexibility to meet (virtually) and their candid advice. No sugar coating but clear overview of options and risks in order to enable us to make educated decisions and device plans of action with and without legal support moving forwards. Trust and integrity are important to us as a company and whilst we understand that with making business decisions, comes making difficult decisions, Liedekerke enabled us to keep our people in mind at all times.’

‘The team have all shown a great deal of integrity and understanding of our business and ways of working when providing guidance. In particular Paul Geerebaert has shown great humanity and ability to relate and provide not only legal advice but support, guidance and (appropriate levels of) light-heartedness.’

‘Paul Geerebaert is very easy to work with, responsive, knowledgeable, and my clients value the services he has provided to them.’

‘Paul Geerebaert is very professional, intelligent and has the highest level of expertise on labour law that I have encountered.’

‘Good team with a good mix of seniority levels.’

‘Paul Geerebaert has a wealth of experience in Belgian social law advice, drafting and litigation. He is the lawyer you need when you are facing an important and/or urgent issue in terms of Belgian social law.’

‘Chloé Stassart’s availability, expertise and time of response are outstanding.’

Key clients

Grand Opticiens Belgium

SABAM

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

DHL Supply Chain

Boehringer Ingelheim

Michael Kors

ONE Campaign

Hotel Plaza Brussels

Assuralia

Uber BV

ILSI Europe

EVS Broadcast Belgium

SENSOR-NITE (Sensata)

ROSIER

Grundfos

Suitsupply

RHEA Systems

Zayo Group

Klarna

Trustly

Avantage Reply Belgium (Reply Group)

Work highlights

  • Successfully assisted Sodraep in terminating a protected worker for serious cause; both the labour court and the labour court of appeal accepted the grounds for doing so.
  • Assisted the former CEO of Bpost, who was terminated for serious cause, with obtaining the entire severance pay through negotiations.
  • Successfully assisted Ilsi Europe in terminating its former Executive Director.

Loyens & Loeff

A litany of high-profile Belgian and international companies and multinational corporates turn to Loyens & Loeff for assistance with the full spectrum of employment issues, including large-scale restructurings, high-profile dismissals, cross-border TUPE transfers, and post-M&A matters. Alternative remuneration schemes and post-Covid working-from-home policies are further core competencies. The team is jointly led by Filip Saelens, an experienced cross-border adviser who focuses on reorganisations and executive compensation, and Kris De Schutter, who specialises in transformation planning, alternative remuneration and change management issues. Eline De Ryck spearheads the team’s pension offering.

Other key lawyers:

Eline De Ryck

Testimonials

‘The team combines business empathy and strategic thinking with profound legal knowledge. This combination in many cases leads to innovative approaches that suit the client’s needs.’

‘I have been a client of Kris De Schutter for many years, and in different roles. He drove the team to the excellent level it reached. His approach, combining business empathy and strategic thinking with profound legal knowledge, has become the DNA of the team. Besides, he is punctual, reliable, commercial. He is an absolute team player unlike the image of ‘sharks’ lawyers have.’

‘Always alert, client focused, honest, pragmatic.’

‘Good skilled lawyers with a pragmatic approach.’

‘Loyens & Loeff is a very trustworthy partner, who shows a very high level of expertise. The team we work with is extremely customer oriented, and very professional.’

‘Kris De Schutter and his team are always open to co-reflect on specific expertise matters. They come up with the right solutions and are able to obtain good results for our company. Moreover it’s a real pleasure to work with them: always there when you need them, proactive and professional.’

‘Filip Saelens is a pleasure to work with. Knowledgeable and responsive.’

‘The team provide great commercial advice that goes to the nub of the issue and are incredibly user-friendly.’

Key clients

Delhaize

Triodos Bank

Kinepolis

BNP Paribas Fortis

Ferrero

Inditex

Brussels Airlines

Chevron

AG Insurance

Eneco

OmniVision

ERT/Biomedical Systems

Delacre

Work highlights

  • Advising Lunch Garden, a Belgian chain of self-service restaurants, on its transformation plan including change in management and collective dismissals.
  • Assisting Delhaize with a new venture: a solidarity mechanism to support the employees of Delhaize and its affiliated companies who had encountered hardship and lost their homes and belongings in recent flooding.
  • Working on the employment aspects of Omnivision’s Belgian market entry process.

Lydian

Working across offices in Brussels and Antwerp, Lydian‘s ‘knowledgeable, reactive and client-focused’ team routinely assists numerous blue-chip multinationals on the full gamut of employment law work. Restructurings, pensions, and forensic investigations – including workplace accidents – are all key workflows for the practice, in addition to acquisition integration issues and cross-border terminations. Alexander Vandenbergen heads up the team’s pensions and benefits offering, concentrating chiefly on major corporate reorganisations and executive compensation negotiations in the financial services sector. Jan Hofkens focuses on collective bargaining proceedings, outsourcing projects, and severance package issues. Jurgen De Vreese, Isabel Plets and counsel Kato Aerts are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Vandenbergen; Jan Hofkens

Other key lawyers:

Jurgen De Vreese; Isabel Plets; Kato Aerts

Testimonials

‘Very personal and highly responsive follow up of my case. Advice built on a deep understanding of the particularities of my situation.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable, reactive and client-focused. It is always a pleasure working with them.’

‘It is a multidisciplinary office affiliated with various international networks, ideal to help clients with cases related to different branches of law and cross-border aspects. The office offers the client a SPOC (with back-up) who puts the client in touch with the specialised department. The periods within which the client wishes to be advised, even if very urgent, are always respected.’

‘Alexander Vandenbergen deserves a special mention: hands-on, pragmatic, and very smart.’

‘We especially appreciate the knowledge they have. The years of experience in their/our industry and the constant training on the common topics ensure that we can confidently rely on their expertise and focus on our core tasks. We can always fall back and rely on their good advice and knowledge.’

‘What impressed me most is the ability of each of the Lydian representatives – regardless of their level – to understand the business context of our complex  organisation. More importantly, the representatives of Lydian are able to act accordingly to this business context and give hands-on, clear advice, regardless of the complexity of the case.’

‘Kato Aerts is knowledgeable and attentive.’

Key clients

Henrad

Altran

Bekaert

Brico

The Antwerp University Hospital

Unilever

Essenscia

Flanders Investment & Trade

Water-link

Scandinavian Tobacco Group

Landewyck Group

Nike

Mitie

Walt Disney

UPS

ForgeRock

Tereos Group

Henkel

AIG

Yokohama

McAfee

Royal & Sun Alliance

Nippon Express (Belgium) NV

Bloomberg

Blackberry

DKV (Munich re)

Thomas Cook

British American Tobacco

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company

Baloise

Société Wallonne des Eaux

Coolblue

Sabam

Booking.com

Flemish Radio & Television Broadcasting Company

Generali Belgium

Airbus

Banijay Group

Centerparcs

Plukon Industries

Solvay

Novelis

Radisson Blu Hotel Group

Carrefour

Cargill

Barry Callebaut

VF Europe

Ebury

Hilton Foods Belgium

Uniqlo

Puratos

Stater

Keyence

LKQ

Wunderman Thompson

Work highlights

  • Assisting Scandinavian Tobacco Group with the integration of AGIO after the acquisition of the latter by STG in 2020.
  • Assisting Nike with all labour and employment matters on a daily basis including litigation, dismissals due to performance or breach of policies, drafting contracts and policies.
  • Assisting Novelis with the Belgian employment law aspects of its acquisition of Aleris.

Stibbe

Stibbe‘s employment law practice has niche capabilities in matters pertaining to sports law, tax, and occupational pension schemes – acting for both private and public sector clients. The team is also noted for its position in collective bargaining proceedings and its role in Belgian legislative development, sitting on the Working Group for Restructuring Joint Committees. Sports law expert Elisabeth Matthys is widely praised by clients for her academic and commercial acumen, including handling contentious procedures regarding TUPE transfers. Jérôme Aubertin maintains a robust labour and social security practitioner, while Dieter Demuynck focuses on cases at the intersection of employment and public law. Jan Proesmans is recommended for pension matters.

Practice head(s):

Elisabeth Matthys; Jérôme Aubertin

Other key lawyers:

Dieter Demuynck; Jan Proesmans

Testimonials

‘The Stibbe Employment practice is formed by a highly knowledgeable mix of partners, senior and junior associates, all of whom have a deep understanding and expertise in employment disputes and advice. The team provides pragmatic, understandable and consistent high quality advice.’

‘Jan Proesmans is a highly dedicated lawyer with deep expertise. Jan always gets to the bottom to obtain the best possible outcomes for its client.’

‘Our organisation has been relying on the law firm Stibbe for a very long time. Lawyer Elisabeth Matthys is always our contact. The services provided are exceptional and of a very high standard. Not only is their knowledge and skill top-notch, but they have also immersed themselves in the specific nature of our organisation, which yields top results both in terms of advice and procedures. The entire team is available at all times, which is quite exceptional. We never have to wait for a response. Their service is very far-reaching and goes beyond their specific domain.’

‘Elisabeth Matthys, partner at Stibbe, is an exceptionally talented person. She is extremely intelligent, has the right emotional intelligence, immediately empathises, immediately finds the core problem, is very well documented, writes fluently, has perfect analytical skills and pleads at such a high level that it is difficult to match her.’

‘Strong analyses, clear actions and a practical approach.’

‘Elisabeth Matthys is excellent: she avoids the long vague answers but has a clear opinion and provides guidance throughout the process. I love to work with Elisabeth as she actually answers your question in a straightforward fashion.’

Key clients

AB InBev

Bridgestone Europe

Cargill

Cegeka

Centerbridge Partners

Cheops

Dileoz

DXC Technology Services

Itron

Manpower

Ordina

PostNL

Punch Powertrain

RTL

The Royal Belgian Football Association (KBVB/URBSFA)

TUI

VSF (Flemish Sports Federation)

Work highlights

  • Assisted AB InBev with the management of a high-profile strike of 2 weeks at the brewery in Jupille, during which the dismissal of the HR manager was requested based on the alleged accusation that reasonable measures to prevent Covid infections in the plant were not respected.
  • Defended the interests of the National Office for Social Security in a procedure with high precedent value that was brought by the Flemish public transport company De Lijn regarding the ‘tax shift’.
  • Assisted Punch Powertrain NV with all the employment questions (including the ring-fencing of the employees and the alignment between restructuring and transfer) connected to the creation of a €180m electrified transmission joint venture with Groupe PSA.

Van Olmen & Wynant

Anchored by its strong capabilities in international collaborations, Van Olmen & Wynant works with many of the region’s largest, well-known companies on a host of advisory and contentious employment matters, regularly representing clients before various courts and labour tribunals. The team is especially noted for its capabilities in civil service law and EU employment law, where Vincent Vuylsteke , Gautier Busschaert and Pieter Pecinovsky have significant expertise. Practice head Chris Van Olmen maintains a broad labour practice that encompasses reorganisations, collective dismissals, and litigation before the Belgian labour courts. Senior attorney Thomas De Jongh is regularly praised by clients on account of his commercial sensibility and deep understanding of US markets.

Practice head(s):

Chris Van Olmen

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Vuylsteke; Gautier Busschaert; Pieter Pecinovsky; Thomas De Jongh; Nicolas Simon

Testimonials

‘For years now, Chris Van Olmen is top of the bill in employment law, leading a law firm with over 30 lawyers. Always doing a great job.’

‘Special credits to Thomas De Jongh who is a young lawyer with the enormous potential to become a leading lawyer in employment law in the years to come.’

‘Good availability, quick responses, good knowledge of labour law with pragmatic approach.’

‘Thomas De Jongh embodies the qualities of the firm and mixes it with his own pleasant personal hands-on approach.’

‘Van Olmen & Wynant is able to deal with a variety of Belgian employment law issues, whether very complex or simple, in a very smooth manner. Their advice is always straight to the point and clearly understandable by the client. I can rely on them and I know that I will get an answer within the allocated deadline.’

‘Chris Van Olmen and Nicolas Simon give very clear and reliable advice, pragmatic and client-oriented approach, and responsive at any time.’

‘Thomas De Jongh is an excellent Belgian lawyer – he is what makes this team.’

‘It is all about Thomas De Jongh really. He understands US clients and the US market like no other Belgian lawyer that I am aware of. He is commercial, responsive and a pleasure to work with – always my first choice for Belgian employment law advice.’

Key clients

Proximus

Bpost

NMBS-SNCB / HR Rail

Eurofins

Vivaqua

Loterie Nationale

STIB/MIVB

Ted Baker

Deutsche Post DHL

Gartner

Work highlights

  • Representing the employer of the Belgian public railway companies (HR Rail) before the European Court of Justice in a preliminary ruling proceeding concerning the question of whether the duty of reasonable accommodation should encompass the search for an alternative position within the company and not only adaptations within the function itself.
  • Drafting a report for the ECA on the applicable rules regarding hiring out of employees between air carriers for several European countries.
  • Assisting Proximus with the information and consultation procedure for a collective dismissal, and helped the company to set up a social plan in order to avoid forced dismissals and to prevent collective actions by the trade unions.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance‘s ‘pragmatic and solution-oriented’ employment team assists a number of large domestic and international corporations with restructurings, industrial relations matters, terminations, and the associated litigation – often with a cross-border element. Practice head Gert Cuppens is a prolific counsel who routinely represents clients before the labour court and serves as a deputy judge of the Brussels Employment Tribunal.

Practice head(s):

Gert Cuppens

Testimonials

‘Very responsive and capable team. Easy to work with. Pragmatic and solution focused.’

‘Gert Cuppens has consistently provided us with prompt, pragmatic advice, tailored to client needs.’

Key clients

Coca-Cola Belgium

Zoetis

LBC Tank Terminals

Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht

Fero Group

Entso-E

Temasek

Straco

RTL Belgium

Fiberklaar

Work highlights

  • Advised various clients in relation to the different stages of the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • Advised Kidiliz on the employment aspects of its judicial reorganisation.
  • Advised Coca-Cola Belgium in relation to a transfer of employees at Coca-Cola Belgium’s headquarters.

CMS

CMS‘ multi-office practice regularly works with key players in the disruptive economy, advising major tech players on various multi-jurisdictional employment matters. Collective dismissals, reorganisations, and (domestic and pan-European) pension issues are all core areas of expertise for the practice, which is jointly helmed by Elke Duden, Sophie Berg and Gaël Chuffart . Karen Dereepere is the driving force behind the team’s Covid-19 hub.

Practice head(s):

Sophie Berg; Gaël Chuffart; Elke Duden

Other key lawyers:

Karen Dereepere; Sofie Kusters

Testimonials

‘The team is knowledgeable and pragmatic. They understand our business needs and are building legal solutions around that. This is what we are expecting from outside counsel. They are open to discussions and extremely responsive.’

‘Sophie Berg and Gaël Chuffart both stand out for their legal expertise, reactivity and pragmatism.’

‘Good, young team.’

‘The CMS team goes the extra mile to know and understand the client. One of their strengths is being able to anticipate our needs.’

‘Elke Duden has a great pulse on the market and an ability to provide practical advice and solutions to issues we are facing. I am impressed by her ability to hone in on the legal issues that a particular set of facts poses and to explain that to us and our clients.’

‘The team are deeply knowledgeable about employment and pensions practice in Belgium which is invaluable for an international business like us. They have recently supported and advised us through a complicated divestment and legal demerger and both their advice and their practical support was excellent.’

‘Elke Duden has been exceptional in her confident advice, great stakeholder management, depth of understanding and flexibility. Sofie Kusters also provided very practical support such as completing registration forms and drafting letters and communication materials for us.’

Key clients

Qatar Airways

LVMH

Electronic Arts

AT&T

ExxonMobil Petroleum & Chemical BV

ZEISS

Accenture

Accor Hotels

Celio

Korn Ferry

Lloyd’s Register EMEA

SNCF

Pension Funds – J&J/General Motors/Euroclear

Lear Corporation

DP World

Work highlights

  • Assisting Celio in the context of a reorganisation of its activity in Belgium, involving a relocation of some Belgian positions to France.
  • Advising DP World with regard to day to day HR and employment matters, in particular related to termination of employment contracts, company policies etc.
  • Providing advanced technical assistance to Accenture in its HR day-to-day management, social elections process, and implementation of Covid-related measures.

Deloitte Legal

Beyond its clear expertise in tax-related matters, Deloitte Legal‘s employment, pensions and benefits practice assists a number of blue-chip clients with the implementation of flexible reward systems, executive compensation packages, international mobility work and data protection matters. Clients regard practice head Stijn Demeestere as a ‘brilliant lawyer’ and litigator who focuses on various dismissal cases and disputes before the Belgian labour courts. Julien Hick  left the practice for AKD.

Practice head(s):

Stijn Demeestere

Other key lawyers:

Thomas De Donder

Testimonials

‘The team knows our company and its organisation and always provides us with practical hands on advice.’

‘Thomas De Donder and Stijn Demeestere have a unique hands on style and combine that with an incredible knowledge of employment law.’

‘Technically very strong and reliable, very pragmatic and creative. They think along with us as their client and translate the legal framework into practical advice that we can execute.’

‘Stijn Demeestere is a brilliant lawyer.’

‘Thomas De Donder is very strong; quickly grasps the situation and is able to provide advice on the spot.’

Key clients

Record Crédits

Matexi

Toyota Motor Europe

Allseas

Showpad

Getinge Belgium

Kaneka Belgium

Beaulieu International Group

Picanol

Ubiway Retails

DLA Piper

Working with a litany of international corporates spanning the worlds of technology, retail, logistics, and life sciences, DLA Piper is frequently engaged on an array of employment mandates, ranging from restructurings and collective dismissals to social elections, workplace accidents, and pensions law. ‘Knowledgeable and experienced’ practice head Eddy Lievens is a seasoned domestic and cross-border adviser to many of the firm’s most high-profile multinational clients. Laurent De Surgeloose focuses on the employment aspects of corporate transactions and restructurings, including transfer of undertakings, collective dismissals and plant closures.

Practice head(s):

Eddy Lievens

Other key lawyers:

Laurent De Surgeloose

Testimonials

‘Personal approach of the team toward clients. Team members are available and internally updated which enables the client to go forward from a certain point without losing time on explaining recent developments.’

‘Eddy Lievens is a real partner when it comes to solving complex situations, not only by taking into account legislation, but also by providing balanced pro and cons of solutions that might affect the decision.’

‘Very quick on the response and always a very detailed response to any questions asked.’

‘Laurent De Surgeloose provides very concrete and thorough advice. He is very responsive and hands-on taking up new tasks. He is very knowledgeable in what he does.’

‘The Belgian team is very knowledgeable and always provide very accurate and prompt responses to my requests.’

‘The team is unique in the sense that they are very pragmatic, whilst being very professional and accurate. Moreover they are very reactive and flexible in communications channels.’

‘Eddy Lievens stands out as a very driven and engaged professional, knowing the ins and outs of social law and labour accidents in particular. He is very knowledgeable and experienced, and always reachable and willing to explain the issues and suggested strategies.’

‘Eddy Lievens is personable and delivers advice in a friendly and warm manner that is easy to digest and understand. Also goes in depth in researching the topic you are working on to ensure you receive the best possible advice.’

Key clients

ABAS

Aurubis

Axalta Coating Systems

BASF

BD myShopi

Burberry

CAE Parc Aviation

Cegeka

CEPA

Clariant

Dentsu Aegis

Dr Martens

Duracell

Dyson

Emirates

Gates Europe

Guerlain Benelux

Interstate Hotels

JD Sports

Legrand Group Belgium

Louis Vuitton Services Europe

Lyreco

Mercuri Urval

Mindtree

Miraclon

MS Amlin Insurance

New Balance

Novus

Parfums Christian Dior SAB

Pfizer

PSA Antwerp / MPET

Royal Sun & Alliance (RSA) Group

Scania

Schenker AG

ServiceNow

Spotify

Syneos

TikTok

Uber

Van Moer Groep

Wipro 4C

World Courier

Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen

Zscaler

Work highlights

  • Advised Gates Industrial Europe SARL and Gates Distribution Center during simultaneous collective dismissal proceedings in Erembodegem and in Ghent.
  • Advised Dentsu Aegis on the collective dismissal of all its employees in Belgium, as well as the setting-up of a new structure for serving clients in Belgium in the future
  • Assisting Pfizer Services in Zaventem during a collective dismissal during the course of the pandemic (in particular given the client’s involvement in the vaccination process).

Fieldfisher

Fieldfisher‘s HR Law Group, which assists with employment, social security and immigration law, routinely handles a mix of domestic and transnational matters, including a number of proceedings regarding dismissals and contractual claims. Practice head Stefan Nerinckx is a veteran figure in the business migration and international employment law space, working with a diverse roster of corporate clients on terminations and business migration matters. Anne Kamp is noted for her extensive contentious experience before various Belgian labour courts, working with a client base that ranges from luxury goods to pharmaceuticals companies. Of counsel Tim Perdieus is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Nerinckx

Other key lawyers:

Anne Kamp; Tim Perdieus

Testimonials

‘In my capacity as MD and Chairman, I had the opportunity to work with Fieldfisher Belgium on several occasions, and this to my utmost satisfaction. Their personal approach is unique, and as such they are capable of building a very strong, professional relationship. The knowledge of the partners and their respective team is rare, and that is why I have chosen to work with only one law firm, Fieldfisher.’

‘One partner stands out: Stefan Nerinckx. He is clearly a leader and an expert in his field. On top of this, his team is formed by himself and as such they really make the difference. Stefan Nerinckx is one of – if not the – best lawyers I know.’

‘Stefan Nerinckx is a legal expert with great business pragmatism. He is always available and fully dedicated to his clients. Very flexible, solution oriented, he is an invaluable resource to manage the complexity of Belgian employment laws and regulations.’

‘The team is extremely knowledgeable and professional. They provide excellent advice and are very committed to the client. What I appreciate most is that they are a relatively small team but nevertheless available 24/7. They have been entrusted with landmark cases in the private sector and in the same time they also represent government bodies.’

‘I have had the pleasure to meet and work with Stefan Nerinckx on several occasions. It was truly a pleasure; pragmatic, knowledgeable, Stefan brings down the legal problem to its essence. Very analytical, he will then propose different solutions to the issue, indicating the one he would advise to apply, taking into account the values, activity and history of the company/institution.’

‘Tim Perdieus is very knowledgeable and very client minded.’

‘The team is very responsive and knows the specificities of each client, which help making fast decisions.’

‘Mr. Stefan Nerinckx is a subject matter expert who is always on top of any new development in the employment law matter but who can explain this in easy terms and convert all his knowledge in decisions that are always fast and well balanced. He takes great care of his clients and remains always pragmatic. He is very efficient and responsive.’

Key clients

Oregon Tool Inc.

Amcor Inc.

illycaffe

Nu Skin / NSE Products

Tax Consult

NSF

Griffith Foods Inc

Fisher Philips

BOORTMALT (Axereal)

Relief International

YANMAR EUROPE B.V

Fresheo

CURIA Global Inc.

Region de Bruxelles Capitale

SEUSS Consulting

AXA GO France (HQ)

Methanex

Work highlights

  • Advised NSF on restructuring its activities.
  • Advised Boortmalt Axereal on drafting for 3 major Belgian entities the Workers Regulations, assessing and amending a Whistleblowing policy, drafting a Code Of Conduct, and working on a complex legal international mobility case involving Belgium and France.
  • Represented the Government of the Brussels Region in a landmark case involving different issues termination of employment, long-term sickness, discrimination.

Linklaters

The team at Linklaters works with a number of major corporations and financial services institutions on strategic employment matters, ranging from post-transaction integrations and restructurings to projects encompassing both incentives and dismissal issues. Newly-appointed counsel and practice head Nele Van Kerrebroeck advises a diverse range of clients on high-stakes corporate transactions and reorganisations, while Luc Vanaverbeke has extensive capabilities in individual and collective terminations. Thierry L’Homme heads up the cross-departmental incentives practice and regularly oversees the design of executive remuneration schemes.

Practice head(s):

Nele Van Kerrebroeck

Other key lawyers:

Luc Vanaverbeke; Thierry L’Homme

Testimonials

‘Very readily available, pragmatic advice, thinking along with the organisation, proactive and creative search for a solution.’

‘We appreciate Linklaters’ pragmatic advice. While ‘technically’ competent from a social-legal perspective, we also appreciate the way they help us to convert legislation into day-to-day human resources practice. Linklaters lawyers are strong in pleading and thorough in their argumentation. They fight for their cause.’

Key clients

Euroclear

The Carlyle Group

PSA Automobiles SA

BlackRock,Inc

E.ON SE

La Lorraine Bakery Group

Hennes & Mauritz

Umicore

Carpetland

Matexi

Work highlights

  • Advised the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA on all strategic employment law challenges, including union negotiations, for the acquisition of the Belgian Luxury Leather Goods Maison, Delvaux.
  • Advising La Lorraine on all day-to-day HR queries (dismissals, neutrality policy, Covid-19 queries, litigations) and all challenging transformation projects (such as the rewriting of its reward and working time policies).
  • Assisting Umicore (and many other Bel20 companies such as Euroclear, Unifiedpost, AB InBev, Ageas, Galapagos, Solvay) on important HR and incentive queries, such as the drafting of ExCo level agreements, introduction of a profit premium and the drafting of incentive plans.

NautaDutilh

Working with a high-profile roster of clients that spans the logistics, financial services, life sciences and retail sectors, NautaDutilh is a ‘responsive and pragmatic‘ adviser across the full gamut of restructuring mandates, often in a cross-border capacity. Social elections, whistleblowing investigations and remuneration reviews are also key workflows for the team. Practice head Philippe François is noted for his corporate expertise, regularly assisting various companies with reorganisations and transfer of undertakings. Thierry Duquesne focuses on Belgian and European labour law matters for the firm’s healthcare and life sciences clients.

Practice head(s):

Philippe François

Other key lawyers:

Thierry Duquesne

Testimonials

‘Very responsive and pragmatic team, always available to help, and always giving us the feeling they put everything aside to assist us. High expertise and insight in likelihood and outcome of legal scenarios.’

‘Philippe François, authentic, very engaged, well informed, always keeps track of developments in company.’

‘The contact is personal and fast. The advice is sound. The lawyer takes the time to give clear and simple explanations. He is very open to discussion.’

‘We work mainly with Thierry Duquesne. We appreciate his clear and precise communication, his availability, his advice and his great availability.’

Key clients

Schneider Electric

Basic-Fit

Meura/Boccard

AstraZeneca

Takeda

Banque Transatlantique

Nyxoah

Gunvor

Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc

Moody’s

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Schneider Electric before the Brussels Labour Tribunal and the Constitutional Court in relation to the 2020 social elections for the works council.
  • Successfully represented Basic Fit before the Antwerp Labour Tribunal in relation to a dismissal case for gross misconduct.
  • Successfully represented FedEx before the Antwerp Labour Tribunal in relation to the 2020 social elections.

Sotra

Highly regarded labour boutique Sotra represents a diverse array of employers from the IT, construction, retail, logistics, energy, and public sectors. Practice head Olivier Rijckaert is a longstanding figure within the space, who works with corporations and high-level executives on social elections, restructurings and transfers of undertakings. Dutch-speaking Marian Dewaersegger advises both SMEs and international companies in matters regarding industrial relations, cross-border TUPE transfers and employee representation, appearing regularly before the social courts. Noël Lambert and Jonathan De Wilde concentrate on healthcare issues and the public sector, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Rijckaert

Other key lawyers:

Marian Dewaersegger; Noël Lambert; Jonathan de Wilde; Valentin Hanquet

Testimonials

‘The fact that they combine legal advice in view with practical corporate implementation is a given asset. The team also works in new ways, employing digitalisation and a nice Sotra application to keep clients up to date with new developments.’

‘Flexible legal ad hoc advice.’

‘I have experienced Sotra’s diverse team as very competent and helpful thanks to their broad expertise. On top of being competent, they are very client-focused and have a multicultural approach. They also spontaneously communicate with each other regarding the best solution in our client file, despite lockdowns and home-working.’

‘Over the years I have come to appreciate the legal expertise, but more specifically the very pragmatic approach based on real business acumen. The partners I have worked with obviously point out any legal risks involved in a file but then advise us on the right decision making by exploring the likeliness and impact of that risk. This is how they add value and retain clients.’

‘They are professional, available, concrete in their answers, attentive to the client, and offer creative solutions.’

‘They propose adapted solutions, are very friendly while remaining professional, and show true mastery of their subjects.’

Key clients

Heidelberg Cement Group (Cimenteries CBR)

ASL Airlines Belgium

Delhaize

Belgian entities of the DHL Deutsche Post Group (DHL Supply chain, DHL Global forwarding, DHL WWN, DHL Express, etc)

Touring

Elia Network Operators

Veolia

Domidep

LUSH

Lidl

Manpower

Trilec

Work highlights

  • Advising and assisting CBR in all its employment matters on a day-to-day basis, entailing strategic advice regarding dealings with Works council and Union representation within the company.
  • Advising and assisting several legal entities of the DHL Group on all employment matters on a day-to-day basis including amongst others, assistance on dealings with the Union Delegation, reviewing the homeworking policies and contracts and setting up or terminating salary split work organisations.
  • Representing Delhaize in all its litigation in Dutch and French, also including criminal litigation for cases where employees are involved either as a victim at work, or as the committer.

Younity

Praised by clients for its ‘strong expertise and realistic approach‘, Younity‘s HR and pensions practice routinely handles a mix of collective redundancy proceedings, international mobility matters and data privacy concerns for a number of public and private sector entities. Seasoned practitioner Jean-Philippe Cordier spearheads the employment practice, specialising in co-determination and workplace wellbeing concerns within large corporations. Managing partner Corinne Merla heads up the pensions desk, with broad expertise in occupational and state pensions and insurance plans. Highly experienced adviser Brecht Cops is also recommended for his capabilities in contentious proceedings, representing clients in cases before various domestic courts.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Philippe Cordier; Corinne Merla

Other key lawyers:

Brecht Cops

Testimonials

‘Reactive, supportive and informed guidance was provided.’

‘Easy to reach, professional conduct and creative in finding an optimal solution to my legal requirements.’

‘Very dedicated team with strong expertise and realistic approach.’

‘Understand business needs – looks for solutions that can be implemented.’

‘Extremely available and clear in their explanations, they always show problem-solving skills. Solution oriented, they are able to provide concrete consulting and not solely theoretical assessments which is very valuable.’

Key clients

Cargill NV

Colisée Group

Exki

GE European Pension Fund

ING

Michelin

OTW

Red Cross Flanders

Über

UCB

Sprimoglass

Zeeman

Work highlights

  • Assisting Sodexo with a mass redundancy regarding 380 employees.
  • Assisting RTBF with negotiating a ruling with the National Pension Office and the Social Security Office relating to the State pension of the contractual employees and civil servants.
  • Assisting Recticel Automotive (currently Ascorium Industries) with the negotiation of the exit of Group General Manager Automotive under Belgian-German contract.

Bird & Bird

Drawing on its sizeable global network, Bird & Bird is noted for its strong sense of interdepartmental and international collaboration, advising a number of high-profile clients on collective dismissals, TUPE transfers, outsourcing issues, and works council negotiations. Seasoned practice head Pieter De Koster advises a broad sweep of clients on various labour law matters, including change management issues, industrial relations work and contentious proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Pieter De Koster

Testimonials

‘Very experienced, proactive and realistic in their advice and solutions.’

Key clients

ABN-AMBRO

Infosys

Plastipak

Salesforce

Burger Brands

Cytiva (including Danaher)

Quantum Simulation Technologies (QSimulate)

Workday

Pfizer

Esko-Graphics BV

Cummins Engine Company

Aptiv (formerly Delphi Automotive plc)

PPG (EWC)

Marsh (part of MMC Group)

SD Worx

Teva Pharmaceuticals

Optel

Colgate-Palmolive

Ricoh

John Bean Technologies

Perrigo

Blue Yonder

Lexmark

Milestone Systems

Zoom Communications Inc

KDDI

Crowell & Moring

Noted for its ‘detailed and high-quality analyses‘ on a range of employment matters, Crowell & Moring regularly handles both individual and collective labour law disputes, as well as a number of HR advisory mandates and cross-border personnel issues, working closely with the firm’s US and London-based offices. Practice head Emmanuel Plasschaert is noted for his capabilities in restructurings and collective employment litigation, representing various Belgian and multinational companies before the domestic courts. Newly-appointed counsel Evelien Jamaels is recommended for her broad industry knowledge.

Practice head(s):

Emmanuel Plasschaert

Other key lawyers:

Evelien Jamaels

Testimonials

‘Crowell has a strong practice in employment with a dedicated team of good practitioners.’

‘Partner Emmanuel Plasschaert is a strong practitioner. He has a very good knowledge of the law and a pragmatic and business orientated approach.’

‘Very detailed and high-quality analyses.’

‘Very pragmatic, flexible, to the point and correct. Nice to work with.’

‘I think their strength is their accessibility.’

‘Very pragmatic, to the point, business focused.’

‘A very strong team that works very professionally! A team you can always count on, that informs each other internally of important decisions for, or by, the customer. The platform has ensured that we always work with the most recent updates of templates for contracts.’

‘We work with Crowell in several areas. Each lawyer has his or her expertise. They often give us several possibilities for solutions with a good estimation of the possible consequences. They always provide a dossier based on strong arguments.’

Key clients

Adecco

Sun Chemical

Ingersoll Rand

Oxera Consulting

Novosanis

The Regulatory Assistance Project

Sandoz

Delhaize Le Lion (Ahold)

Audax Management Co. LLC

Belgian municipalities of Affligem, Beersel, Bever, Dilbeek, Liedekerke, Linkebeek, Pepingen, Roosdaal, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Sint-Pieters-Leeuw and Ternat

Work highlights

  • Assisted Mobileum Inc. with its restructuring of Belgian subsidiary SIGOS BV, which included a collective dismissal.
  • Provided a computer software company with an overview of the gender equity and pay gap related requirements in force in all the European countries in which it operates.
  • Assisted various clients with amending, updating, and developing policies in light of the effects of Covid-19.

Curia

Mirroring the firm’s broader focus on the Belgian telecoms sector, Curia works with a number of key players in the TMT space and beyond, including logistics groups, consumer goods companies, and medical manufacturers. The practice is jointly led by Brussels-based Guido Lamal and Peter Roosens, who are based in Leuven. Evelyne Maes and Jurgen Goyvaerts left the firm in 2022.

Practice head(s):

Guido Lamal; Peter Roosens

Testimonials

‘We have worked with Guido Lamal for 20 years. On each occasion that we approach him, he asks many questions that relate to the circumstances and to how we work in addition to the facts. Guido also understands the impact of different management actions on individuals. He seeks to get the full picture before giving clear advice. He is proactive, available and, not unimportantly, to the point!’

‘We have worked a lot with this firm for the past years and our experience has been solely positive. The lawyers are very approachable and are open for discussions. They understand our point of view, and believe in the cases as much as we do. They also don’t hesitate to share an opinion which is different to ours, we can therefore always count on their honesty.’

‘With regards to labour law we can count on Curia to think out of the box and be creative in their approach.’

With regards to discrimination law, the difficulty lies in the fact that the elements of proof that are available to the victim are usually limited. In these cases, the Curia lawyers managed to use these elements to create convincing case stories and legal constructions.’

‘Curia performs really well in terms of value for money and delivery to budget. They perform the best out of all the firms we work with.’

‘No nonsense approach, very accurate legal approach and research, effective procedure handling and total awareness of issues at stake. Professional handling of cases or topics, solution oriented.’

Key clients

Amfori

Ashfield

Baker Hughes

Bakkerij Ranson – Canniere

BeCa (Belgian Cockpit Association)

CHG Meridian

Conformis

Contimac

EF Education

Enersys

FM Logistics

Huawei

Nikon Metrology

Owens Corning

Seris Logistics

Seris Security

Telenet

Wind Europe

Jones Day

Spearheaded by the ‘incomparable’ Chantal Biernaux , Jones Day handles a mix of employment law mandates including corporate restructurings (and the associated dismissals), collective bargaining agreements, and litigation on behalf of key clients in the automotive, chemical, and pharmaceuticals sectors. Pension plans, social security compliance, and contractual analyses are further key workflows.

Practice head(s):

Chantal Biernaux

Testimonials

‘Chantal Biernaux is incomparable with her experience but at the same time the drive and the client-orientation that is needed nowadays.’

‘Chantal Biernaux is a class act.’

Key clients

The Hain Celestial Group – Lima Natuurvoedingsbedrijf BV

Lifeline Scientific

European Asphalt Pavement Association (EAPA)

Donaldson Europe BV

Riverside Europe Partners BV

KPMG Law in Belgium

Under the tenure of practice head Alexis Ceuterick, KPMG Law in Belgium continues to expand its bench of talent, most recently with the recruitment of labour law counsel Barbara François from Racine. The team is noted for its capabilities in cross-border mobility matters, particularly in relation to the transfer of workers from Belgium to France. Collective dismissal proceedings, social elections and social security issues are also key competencies.

Practice head(s):

Alexis Ceuterick

Other key lawyers:

Barbara François

Testimonials

‘Professional advice and easy to contact for additional queries or clarifications. Solid international network.’

‘Very accessible and professional. Good at pointing out potential risks and the qualification of that risk.’

‘The KPMG law social team advises us on a wide range of day-to-day legal HR matters such as: privacy matters related to personnel; homeworking policy and the reimbursement of costs related to homeworking.’

‘KPMG law always manages to deliver relevant, pragmatic and effective advice/solutions and always with short notice.’

‘Alexis Ceuterick, partner, meets our key expectations, i.e. delivering straightforward and to the point advice. He always makes sure to indicate effectively and clearly what actions need to be taken, with an indication of pros and cons, including the consequences associated with each option.’

Work highlights

  • Advising a multinational company active in the energy industry on cross-border employment situations (including work with foreign sub-contractors), flexible working schedules, and applicable labour law/social security regimes.
  • Assisting a multinational company specialised in high and low pressure air compressors, power groups, building materials as well as industrial tools and assembly systems on day-to-day HR related matters.
  • Assisting A company active in the food industry on a day-to-day basis for all legal HR issues and strategic projects.

Monard Law

Working across multiple Belgian sites, Monard Law is widely praised by clients for its ‘resourceful and competent’ employment practice. The interdisciplinary team regularly handles reorganisations, union and works council negotiations, and cross-border TUPE transfer issues. The team is jointly led by Hasselt-based collective labour and social security specialist Peter Dufaux , Ghent-based criminal employment law expert Tom Messiaen , and the ‘meticulous’ Brussels-based Bert Theeuwes .

Practice head(s):

Peter Dufaux; Tom Messiaen; Bert Theeuwes

Testimonials

‘High availability, quick responses, pragmatic approach.’

‘Tom Messiaen translates the realistic outcomes of a case into a pragmatic advice.’

‘The team delivers specialised services in different types of problems.’

‘We consider Monard Law as a centre of expertise and would characterise their services as highly client-centred. They have guided us effortlessly through each of our requests for advice/intervention. We believe that they understand very well how to involve clients in the process and guide them through the legal jungle; they respect the client’s demands and do their utmost to fulfil expectations.’

In our opinion, Mr Theeuwes excels on many levels. His legal team also lives up to its credentials and to its educational/professional background. Moreover, their approach is exemplary in terms of client-friendliness. They are very hands-on, well-organised, and (contrary to many other firms) exceptionally forthcoming; we genuinely appreciate that the client’s convenience is on their priority list.’

‘Mr Theeuwes and his team tick the box on all fronts. In our experience, they are more knowledgeable and experienced in respect to international matters and contexts than other firms. Also, they are very punctual and efficient in providing clear and unambiguous advice and in running appropriate interventions.’

‘The overall performance of Mr Theeuwes is outstanding. His advice is meticulous (not too elaborate) and his interventions are well-considered and well-prepared.’

Key clients

Belron International

Atlas Copco

Autogrill Belux

NH-Hotels

Kyocera

ERT

CANON MEDICAL

Carglass

Rabobank

Chiyoda

KBC Bank

Securex

Veolia

Fair Trade Europe

Eurofood

Chemoplast

VPK Packaging

Intrasoft

Wienerberger

Bechtle

Savencia

Kuwait Petroleum

EU Parliament

Krefel

Securitas Direct Management

Fluvius

Facilicom Group

Copaco

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke is noted for its robust employer-side clients, working with a number of large domestic and international companies on a range of employment issues, particularly in the TMT, life sciences, and retail sectors. TUPE transfers, restructurings and post-M&A labour law questions are all core competencies for the team. Practice head Thierry Viérin is routinely sought out by a number of European, US and Indian companies with key operations in Belgium. Vinciane Rysselinck is recommended for her fashion and luxury goods sector expertise.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Viérin

Other key lawyers:

Vinciane Rysselinck

Testimonials

‘I have worked with many external law firms worldwide and find Osborne Clarke Belgium collaborative with their communication and advice.’

‘The business has had a close working relationship with Thierry Viérin at the firm over the past few years. Thierry’s communication with business is exceptional and he is the first point of call for all Legal matters for the company’s Belgian business.’

‘During our dealings, Osborne Clarke re-shuffled its entire team in order to provide the more accurate expertise, with sometimes less than a few days’ notice and mobilised its staff to react to tight deadlines and unforeseen events. The consultancy provided was exhaustive, concise and was utilised at the highest level in our organisation.’

‘I appreciated the reactivity and reliability, which were time essential and adaptability to a range of unexpected scenarios. Open-minded and creative partners, capable of providing answers and base for decision even though we were steering in multiple directions due to the force of the external constraints, above all political. Very diplomatic and empathetic in some difficult meetings where tensions were palpable on both sides, always rational and moderate, but also assertive and confident.’

‘Mr Viérin and Ms Rysselinck in particular were at our side along the painful steps of the process and highly professional committed consultants.’

Key clients

Bolt

Diageo

Bisnode

Godiva

Delphi Genetics

Allegis

Xerox

Aspria

Novo Nordisk

Zambon

Work highlights

  • Advised the EU Commission on TUPE and provided ongoing advice for subsequent litigation around large catering contracts.
  • Advised Godiva on its international restructuring with special attention to Belgium.
  • Advising Allegis on the validation of its business model and creating new business models for staffing agencies in Belgium.

Reliance | Littler

Boutique employment firm Reliance | Littler enjoys a notable market reputation for its broad advisory and contentious capabilities, ranging from post-transactional transfer of undertakings and collective dismissals to high-stakes proceedings before the European Court of Justice. Fielding a sizeable bench of partner and associate talent, international mobility expert Koen De Bisschop, corporate restructuring specialist Edward Carlier, and certified data protection officer Stéphanie De Ridder are some of the key names to note. Anne-Valérie Michaux specialises in contract negotiations and discrimination matters, while Erwin Crabeels focuses on individual and collective conflict resolution.

Practice head(s):

Koen De Bisschop; Edward Carlier; Erwin Crabeels; Anne-Valerie Michaux; Stéphanie De Ridder

Other key lawyers:

Yne Machiels

Testimonials

‘Appreciate their expertise, clear communication, responsiveness, and willingness to follow up.’

‘Edward Carlier is extremely knowledgeable, very pragmatic, easy to talk to, and always available when we need him.’

‘Yne Machiels is very focused, very thorough in her assessments and very easy to work with.’

‘Reactive and possess the capacity to understand your business specifications and provides clear explanations. Very knowledgeable.’

‘Reactive and nice people that are dedicated to solving your problems. Reliable firm.’

Van Bael & Bellis

Helmed by experienced litigator and life sciences regulatory specialist Catherine Longeval , Van Bael & Bellis handles a diverse range of employment law mandates, such as large-scale collective redundancies and mass contract terminations for retail and manufacturing clients. Cross-border disputes are also a key workflow for the team, with recent instructions including executive terminations. Counsel Sara Beutels is also recommended for her ‘outstanding competence and profound knowledge‘.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Longeval

Other key lawyers:

Sara Beutels

Testimonials

‘The speed at which they reply or advise is outstanding.’

‘At all times they collaborate within the association and then advise, particularly true of Sara Beutels. Her outstanding competence and profound knowledge in the labour law allow her to lead the dossier in accordance with our requests and position her swift understanding and interpretation of our request and its feasibility into labour law.’

‘The firm is very responsive to inquiries and keeping us well-informed of legal changes during Covid.’

‘The clarity and prompt communication makes them stand out.’

Key clients

Amgen

Astadia

Baxter

Bidvest/Bidfood

Bridgestock Care/MSG Care

Council of Bureaux

CSEE/ETUCE

Cybernet

DiaSorin

EPAM

EUChemS

Exphar

Hyundai Motor Company Brussels

IPL Plastics

KEKST CNC

Lamons

Leggett & Platt

Midwich / Invision U.K.

Orchestra-Prémaman

Outpost 24

Pentax Medical

Pfizer

Rockwool Group

Scholt Energy Control

Soufflet

TopSpec

Work highlights

  • Advised Orchestra-Prémaman on its cross-border judicial reorganisation and restructuring.
  • Advising Bridgestock Care on all employment and social security related work in relation to the start-up of a privately owned asylum centre.
  • Assisted Lamons in relation to the closure of its Belgian site and the termination of the employment contracts of all Belgian employees.

Verhaegen Walravens

Verhaegen Walravens acts for various Belgian and international clients on the full gamut of employment law issues, ranging from individual and collective labour law litigation before the labour courts, to union negotiations, complex dismissals, and social security matters. Catherine Preumont is noted for her broad advisory and contentious capabilities, including advising on transfer of undertakings, bonus plans, and remuneration policies.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Preumont

Testimonials

‘Very good cooperation, always looking for the best solutions for the client.’

‘Excellent for their reliability, good communication, and overall good quality of work.’

‘Although the team is rather small, it is very proficient and reactive. The team has extended experience and is very well managed. It offers useful, practical and legally perfect solutions, which helps to roll out the planned projects.’

‘I was very happy to work with Catherine Preumont, who understands the needs well. She is keen on helping the clients meet their needs. She even helps to evaluate the proper needs and, thus, provide with long-term solutions.’

Key clients

Sony Depthsensing Solutions

Bouygues Immobilier Belgium

Work highlights

  • Advising Sony Depthsensing Company, part of the Sony Group, on overall immigration policies and issues as well as its HR legal issues.
  • Assisting Bouygues Immobilier Belgium on a regularly basis with its HR legal issues (negotiation of exit packages, drafting of termination settlement and employment/services agreements, bonus plans, implementation of the governmental Covid 19 measures, etc.)