Employment in Belgium

Van Eeckhoutte, Taquet & Clesse

Claeys & Engels

Claeys & Engels' team has an excellent reputation for its 'in-depth and solid knowledge of employment law'. Restructuring and pensions matters are core areas of strength for the 'solution-minded' team, which also advises clients on immigration issues. Chris Engels and the 'empathic' Olivier Wouters jointly lead the group, which includes Sophie Maes.

Practice head(s):

Chris Engels; Olivier Wouters

Other key lawyers:

Sophie Maes

Testimonials

Claeys & Engels’ advice is accurate and to the point‘.

Olivier Wouters has profound expert knowledge‘.

They are all very accessible‘.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's team stands out for its 'thorough knowledge of labour-related matters'. Pensions, collective bargaining agreements, restructurings, employee benefit matters and dismissal-related disputes are among its areas of expertise. The practice also leverages the firm's online portal, Employment Restructuring Roadmap, to assist clients with cross-border restructurings by identifying employment law requirements in other jurisdictions. Christian Bayart heads up the department, which includes Inge Vanderreken, who is 'always providing advice in a timely manner with high quality'. In December 2019, Virginie Vercheval joined from Jones Day.

Practice head(s):

Christian Bayart

Other key lawyers:

Inge Vanderreken; Virginie Vercheval

Testimonials

It is a highly competent and professional practice‘.

Personal approach, quickly reachable, good service‘.

ALTIUS

ALTIUS' employment practice is 'very responsive and can advise on all aspects of employment law'. The team is adept at handling both contentious and non-contentious work for clients from a wide range of industries. Recent mandates for the group included restructurings, dismissal-related disputes, and employee transfer matters. Practice head Philippe De Wulf is 'an excellent negotiator' and is also 'very responsive, practical and sensible'. Sven Demeulemeester has established expertise in sports law and is experienced in advising clients on collective dismissals. Senior associate Emma Van Caenegem, who has 'deep knowledge of labour law', is another key individual. Associate Astrid Caporali is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Philippe De Wulf

Other key lawyers:

Sven Demeulemeester; Emma Van Caenegem; Astrid Caporali

Testimonials

ALTIUS is very dedicated to its clients. The team’s strengths are deep knowledge of employment law and its ability to propose innovative solutions to the clients‘.

Philippe de Wulf is an exceptional lawyer; all his advice is excellent and specific‘.

Senior associate Emma Van Caenegem is one of the best lawyers I have worked with. She is extremely smart, her advice is always straight to the point. She understands business needs extremely well. She is one of these lawyers you can rely on completely‘.

Dynamic, dedicated, very professional and motivated team‘.

They are partner-driven, very reactive and deliver practical advice for often very complex matters with international aspects‘.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Nancy Luyten's group at Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL is adept at assisting domestic and multinational clients with a broad range of employment matters,  including collective bargaining agreements, restructurings, individual and collective dismissals and business migration matters. François Gabriel has longstanding expertise in employment law. Sebastian Burg is well-versed in advising unions on collective bargaining agreements.

Practice head(s):

Nancy Luyten

Other key lawyers:

François Gabriel; Sebastian Burg

Eubelius

Eubelius' team 'combines a hands-on approach with solid legal knowledge' and provides 'sound, intelligent and pragmatic advice' on discrimination cases, pensions and restructurings, among other areas. Practice head Véronique Pertry and associate François-Xavier Gaudissart have 'tremendous know-how with regards to employment and all possible pension systems, and are also capable of bringing complex cases to the bare essence thanks to their open minds and extensive listening skills'. Counsel Liesbet Vandenplas is 'an excellent lawyer that understands the projects and is able to analyse and solve any legal issues even before they arise'.

Practice head(s):

Véronique Pertry

Other key lawyers:

Liesbet Vandenplas; François-Xavier Gaudissart

Testimonials

Liesbet Vandenplas – pragmatism and creative thinking‘.

They provide their clients with very practical and concrete advice‘.

Very friendly, efficient and helpful‘.

Key clients

Thalys International

Fedrus International

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Ghent University

Alter Pharma

The Belgian Minister of Pensions

Work highlights

  • Represented the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men, and the witness to a discrimination case on the grounds of sex, before the European Court of Justice; the Court ruled that in this case, the Belgian Gender Act violated European law with regard to protecting witnesses of cases of sex discrimination.
  • Provides ongoing assistance to Fedrus International with a cross-border restructuring, involving a collective dismissal procedure.
  • Assisting Alter Pharma with a restructuring matter, involving a number of dismissals.

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick

Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick's practice is very well known for its 'strength and depth' and 'strong capability in employment law'. Areas of instruction for the 'very responsive' team include collective bargaining agreements, restructurings, collective dismissals and discrimination claims. Practice head Paul Geerebaert is 'a strong litigator'. Managing partner Vincent Busschaert ('highly knowledgeable, commercial and responsive') and senior associate Leen Holvoet are also key names.

Practice head(s):

Paul Geerebaert

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Busschaert; Leen Holvoet

Testimonials

They are quick to respond, patient and sound with their advice‘.

They deliver high quality services and are very reactive‘.

Paul Geerebaert and Vincent Busschaert are leading practitioners on the Belgian market‘.

When you work with Liedekerke, you know that you are dealing with a quality law firm with high quality people. There is always a feeling of trust and confidence‘.

Highly practical and commercial‘.

The team is solid and very well coordinated‘.

Key clients

SABAM

Betafence Belgium

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Michael Kors

Hotel Le Plaza Brussels

Car Parts Industries Belgium (CPIB)

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hotel Le Plaza Brussels with a collective bargaining agreement, involving the re-employment of employees whose job category was terminated.
  • Assisted security systems  company Betafence Belgium with all aspects of the collective dismissal of 80 employees.
  • Assisted CPIB with a collective dismissal procedure.

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff's 'very practical' team garners praise for its 'in-depth knowledge' of employment law, as well as its 'tangible and realistic advice' to clients. The scope of its experience includes restructurings, individual and collective dismissals, employee benefits and transactional support matters. The 'straightforward' Kris De Schutter jointly leads the group with Filip Saelens. Associate Vincent Marcelle has 'very extensive knowledge of labour law'.

Practice head(s):

Filip Saelens; Kris De Schutter

Other key lawyers:

Vincent Marcelle

Testimonials

In-depth knowledge and very reachable‘.

Vincent Marcelle: very promising young lawyer‘.

Pragmatic and hands-on approach. Very responsive‘.

Helpful, solution oriented, good listeners’.

Filip Saelens has an intelligent, pragmatic approach, balancing legal and business realities.

Key clients

Brussels Airlines

BNP Paribas

PharmaBelgium-Belmedis

Inditex Group

Amazon

Greenyard

Fleury Michon

Delacre

SX Well

Work highlights

  • Advising Brussels Airlines on its restructuring, involving the collective dismissal of 1,000 employees.
  • Assisted SX Well with a dismissal case involving the termination of the employment agreement of a CEO who was living in Thailand.
  • Advising Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler on the employment aspects of its proposed cross-border merger.

Lydian

At Lydian, Alexander Vandenbergen ('a first-class employment lawyer') heads up the practice with Jan Hofkens. Hofkens is 'a very skilled negotiator with regard to handling dismissals and collective agreements matters, backed by his broad knowledge and in-depth understanding of employment law issues'. Recent mandates included large-scale pensions work, dismissals, restructurings and compliance-related matters. Kato Aerts' 'knowledge of international employment law is exceptional'.

Practice head(s):

Jan Hofkens; Alexander Vandenbergen

Other key lawyers:

Kato Aerts

Testimonials

Kato Aerts is very commercial and responsive. Her written work is concise and clear‘.

Professionals that provide no-nonsense legal advice. Straight to the point problem-solvers‘.

Lydian’s lawyers have a very practical approach‘.

Very client-oriented, solution-driven, fast response time‘.

Alexander Vandenbergen has superb industry knowledge‘.

Kato Aerts is an exceptional and ambitious young lawyer. She is extremely responsive, reliable and dedicated‘.

Alexander Vandenbergen has a particular focus on pension schemes. He is one of the most dedicated specialists in this area‘.

Kato Aerts is a skilled lawyer who gives clear and to the point advice‘.

Key clients

Henrad

Essenscia

Sabam

Baloise

UPS

British American Tobacco

Scandinavian Tobacco Group

The Walt Disney Company

Nike

Takeda

Work highlights

  • Acted for Nike in a discrimination dispute.
  • Representing The Walt Disney Company in litigation pertaining to a constructive dismissal claim following a restructuring in Belgium.
  • Assisted UPS with a high-end dismissal case.

Stibbe

Stibbe's practice is jointly led by Elisabeth Matthys and the 'excellent' Jérôme Aubertin. The team provides ongoing advice to Sports Vlaanderen on implementing codes of conduct for handling claims of sexual harassment. Other areas of expertise include restructurings, individual and collective dismissals, and pensions cases. Dieter Demuynck and the 'outstanding' Jan Proesmans, who are both counsels, are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Elisabeth Matthys; Jérôme Aubertin

Other key lawyers:

Dieter Demuynck; Jan Proesmans

Testimonials

The team is very detailed and accurate.

Jan Proesmans has a deep understanding both of the employment laws as well as the individual matters he handles for the client’.

Excellent advisers.

Key clients

Swissport Cargo Services Belgium

Cargill

Bridgestone Europe

Cheops

Work highlights

  • Assisting TD Williamson with a restructuring, involving a collective dismissal of employees.
  • Representing IT company Atos in litigation relating to a termination case.

Van Olmen & Wynant

Van Olmen & Wynant's 'dynamic' team is led by the 'very experienced and client-focused' Chris Van Olmen. The group recently assisted electronics manufacturing company Teleplan with a restructuring following the closure of one of its branches in Belgium, involving the collective dismissal of all its employees; associate Thomas De Jongh ('a great lawyer') led on this matter. Nicolas Simon 'understands situations with ease and provides reliable and solid legal counsel'. The 'reliable' Vincent Vuylsteke and associate Gautier Busschaert ('very professional and effective') are also key individuals.

Practice head(s):

Chris Van Olmen

Other key lawyers:

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

Testimonials

The lawyers of Van Olmen & Wynant are very client-focused and provide very precise and reliable advice. The team has the ability to balance the practical approach with the technical side. Friendly, yet professional. Reliable, we can always count on them, even at short notice’.

‘Chris Van Olmen has lots of experience and is someone who has seen it all. He can handle very complex matters in a pragmatic way’.

Very detailed and responsive, client-centred service’.

Thomas de Jongh is a pleasure to deal with’.

A very practical, down to earth and hands-on approach to legal issues, taking into account the practical realities of employment situations, based on a sound and proven experience with labour courts and their practice‘.

Thomas de Jongh – commercial, approachable, an excellent people person‘.

Key clients

bpost

Eurofins

Vivaqua

Ted Baker

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended Eurofins in a dispute with  a former employee involving claims for damages pertaining to an employee status issue.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance's 'very pragmatic and hands-on' team is 'solution-oriented' and provides 'top expertise and excellent client service'. Collective dismissals and restructurings have been prominent in the group's workload recently, as have employee transfer cases. The client base includes prominent beverage, energy, sports and technology companies. 'Very responsive, pragmatic and solution-driven' counsel Gert Cuppens is the key contact.

Practice head(s):

Gert Cuppens

Testimonials

Gert Cuppens is very responsive and has creative ideas‘.

Gert Cuppens is absolutely terrific. He just gets the job done!

Key clients

Coca-Cola

Zoetis

Dedalus

Work highlights

  • Assisted Coca-Cola with an employee transfer case.
  • Assisted manufacturing company Valéron Strength Films with a collective dismissal procedure.

CMS

At CMS, the 'very practical' group is advising the Belgian branch of Qatar Airways on the airline's planned global reorganisation, involving the dismissal of employees from Brussels Airport and Liège Airport. Pensions work has been another notable area of activity for the team. The key contacts are the 'outstanding' Gaël Chuffart, Sophie Berg and Elke Duden ('a steady rock').

Practice head(s):

Sophie Berg; Gaël Chuffart; Elke Duden  

Testimonials

Elke Duden is always available with advice and energy.

Dedicated and supportive‘.

Key clients

Deliveroo

Qatar Airways

ExxonMobil

Deloitte Legal

Stijn Demeestere leads the team at Deloitte Legal, whose recent workload has covered employee benefits, collective dismissals and restructuring mandates. Director Julien Hick and senior associate Thomas De Donder are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Stijn Demeestere

Other key lawyers:

Julien Hick; Thomas De Donder

Testimonials

Julien Hick is extremely knowledgeable in everything employment or labour related. He is a straight-talker and very pragmatic, cognisant of business reality‘.

Excellent combination of legal employment knowledge and pragmatic approach‘.

Key clients

Amgen

Matexi

Arvesta

Ghent University Hospital

Work highlights

  • Assisted an international steel construction company with employee transfer matters.

DLA Piper

Eddy Lievens leads DLA Piper's team, which has expertise in compliance matters, large-scale restructurings, collective dismissals and health and safety issues, among other areas. Other key names in the practice are Laurent De Surgeloose (who is very experienced in handling pensions matters), lead lawyer Frederic Brasseur (who advises on restructuring matters) and senior lead lawyer Pierre Dion.

Practice head(s):

Eddy Lievens

Other key lawyers:

Laurent De Surgeloose; Frederic Brasseur; Pierre Dion

Key clients

Jump

Pfizer

Parfums Christian Dior

Spotify

Burberry

LMTS Belgium

Work highlights

  • Assisted LMTS Belgium with the collective dismissal of all its employees in Belgium.
  • Advised insurance company Athora Belgium on the employment aspects, including pension matters, of its sale of its non-life business to Baloise Belgium.

Fieldfisher

Stefan Nerinckx heads up the department at Fieldfisher. Recent mandates for the 'very knowledgeable' team included acting for Nu Skin in a dismissal case concerning alleged harassment. International employment matters are a core strength of the practice, which also counts employee status issues, collective and individual dismissals, business migration matters and contentious work as other areas of expertise. Other key names include Anne Kamp, senior associate Tim Perdieus and associate Davit Unusyan.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Nerinckx

Other key lawyers:

Anne Kamp; Tim Perdieus; Davit Unusyan

Testimonials

The team is extremely professional and very accessible. They have a very open and friendly relationship with their clients. And very client-oriented services‘.

This team has exceptional knowledge of Belgian law and they provide high-quality advice‘.

They are reliable, creative and always available. They are just utterly professional and nice to work with‘.

Stefan and his team keep abreast of the latest employment law developments in Belgium‘.

Key clients

Blount International

Crasner Consulting

AXA

Methanex Corporation

Griffith Foods

Work highlights

  • Assisted Griffith Foods with a number of dismissal cases.

Jones Day

Recent work for Jones Day's 'very to-the-point' employment practice included cross-border restructurings, collective dismissals, collective bargaining agreements and employee transfers. Practice head Chantal Biernaux stands out for her 'calm management'. Associate Charlotte D’herckers is another key name. In December 2019, associate Virginie Vercheval moved to Allen & Overy LLP.

Practice head(s):

Chantal Biernaux

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte D’herckers

Testimonials

Chantal Biernaux is a very experienced and easy to work with attorney, who always provides very rational analysis‘.

Key clients

Lifeline Scientific

Donaldson Europe

Hain Celestial

Linklaters

Luc Vanaverbeke is the key name at Linklaters. The team has established expertise in handling a wide spectrum of employment matters; recent mandates included restructurings, collective bargaining advice, discrimination issues and dismissal cases.

Practice head(s):

Luc Vanaverbeke

NautaDutilh

The team at NautaDutilh is 'very knowledgeable about employment law' and 'goes the extra mile to provide practical legal advice'. Collective dismissals and restructurings have been key drivers of work for the group recently. Practice head Philippe François is 'available, precise, and understands the needs of his clients'. Thierry Duquesne and associates Frédérique Czanik and Yannick Smet are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Philippe François

Other key lawyers:

Thierry Duquesne; Frédérique Czanik; Yannick Smet

Testimonials

This firm really listens to its clients‘.

Very good knowledge of their clients, be it people or company‘.

Key clients

FedEx

AstraZeneca

The Body Shop

Gucci

Swissport

Work highlights

  • Assisting Swissport Belgium with its restructuring following the company’s insolvency.
  • Advised Munters on the closure of its Belgian production site in Dison, involving the collective dismissal of over 200 employees.

Sotra

Sotra's department, which is led by the 'highly charismatic' Olivier Rijckaert, provides 'useful and pragmatic advice' to government entities and companies from sectors such as construction, technology and retail. In one highlight, the team assisted iKanbi Belgium with all the employment aspects of its takeover of Harvest Communications. Notable individuals in the group include Marian Dewaersegger ('highly approachable and available'), Noël Lambert, Jonathan de Wilde ('a top-notch expert in his field') and 'very conscientious' senior associate Karel Devloo.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Rijckaert

Other key lawyers:

Marian Dewaersegger; Jonathan de Wilde; Noël Lambert; Karel Devloo

Testimonials

They are absolute professionals who are quick to react to their client’s needs. They are thorough in their responses, proactive when they detect a potential issue you may have not thought about, and very personable. Empathetic, non-judgmental, and always available‘.

Marian Dewaersegger deserves special accolades for her empathy and eagerness to help’.

Karel Devloo provides prudent advice. He leaves no stone unturned. His work is thorough and accurate‘.

Marian Dewaersegger is very invested and will leave no stone unturned to come up with the most appropriate solution for your problem‘.

Olivier Rijckaert is an out-of-the-box thinker‘.

Jonathan de Wilde is very approachable and gives highly qualitative legal advice‘.

Key clients

HeidelburgCement

Delhaize

ASL Airlines Belgium

Manpower

Younity

The team at Younity acts for clients on restructurings, collective dismissals, pensions work and contentious matters, among other areas. Managing partner Corinne Merla, who is well-known in the market for her expertise in pensions law, jointly leads the practice with Jean-Philippe Cordier. Brecht Cops is a key name for advice on employment litigation.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Philippe Cordier; Corinne Merla

Other key lawyers:

Brecht Cops

Key clients

Michelin

Sodexo

GlaxoSmithKline

BNP Paribas Fortis

ArcelorMittal

Everzinc

Work highlights

  • Assisting GlaxoSmithKline with a restructuring, involving a collective dismissal of 720 employees.
  • Assisting Hotel Métropole with the collective dismissal of 120 employees.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's recent work included assisting ABN-AMRO with all employment aspects of its takeover of the Société Générale private banking business in Belgium; this involved handling collective dismissals and collective bargaining agreements. Pieter De Koster leads the team, which includes counsels Cecilia Lahaye and Anton Aerts.

Practice head(s):

Pieter De Koster

Other key lawyers:

Cecilia Lahaye; Anton Aerts

Key clients

ABN-AMRO

Biobest

Infosys

Plastipak

Salesforce

SD Worx

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries

Crowell & Moring

The 'practical and pragmatic' team at Crowell & Moring, which garners praise for its 'strong legal knowledge', recently acted for clients on matters such as restructurings, termination cases and business migration matters. Practice head Emmanuel Plasschaert is 'an excellent practitioner with a strong reputation'. Frederik Van Remoortel and counsel Evelien Jamaels are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Emmanuel Plasschaert

Other key lawyers:

Frederik Van Remoortel; Evelien Jamaels

Testimonials

The team is very flexible and very responsive‘.

Key clients

Adecco

Sandoz

Vias Institute

Oxera Consulting

Work highlights

  • Successfully defended the Vias Institute against a claim of alleged harassment, which was brought against the client by a former employee.

Curia

Curia’s team provides 'usable and pragmatic advice' to domestic and international clients on restructurings, discrimination issues, collective and individual dismissals and pension matters, among other areas. Guido Lamal, Els Leenaerts, Peter Roosens and Jurgen Goyvaerts are the names to note.

Practice head(s):

Guido Lamal; Els Leenaerts; Peter Roosens; Jurgen Goyvaerts

Testimonials

Very practical legal advice‘.

Els Leenaerts: great expertise, available, practical and efficient‘.

Guido Lamal stands out with his negotiating and litigation skills‘.

Key clients

Institute for the Equality of Women and Men

Vulpia

Enersys

Rentokil

KPMG Law in Belgium

KPMG Law in Belgium's 'solution-oriented' team has had a notable uptick in work from public sector entities, and has been kept busy with migration matters, dismissals, restructurings and collective dismissals, among other areas. Alexis Ceuterick, who heads up the department, works with counsel Mary-Ann Staar.

Practice head(s):

Alexis Ceuterick

Other key lawyers:

Mary-Ann Staar

Testimonials

Very responsive, practical approach, lot of expertise, enthusiastic, great communication skills‘.

Monard Law

At Monard Law, the team continues to assist a prominent gas and oil company with all the employment law aspects of its business reorganisation. The client roster also includes banking, energy and technology sector entities. The key contacts at the firm are the 'very pragmatic' Tom Messiaen, Bert Theeuwes and Peter Dufaux.

Practice head(s):

Peter Dufaux; Bert Theeuwes; Tom Messiaen

Testimonials

Monard Law has built excellent expertise in local employment laws and local jurisprudence. Good strategic thinkers in handling (potential) employment issues‘.

Peter Dufaux is very knowledgeable, competent, easily approachable and solution-driven‘.

Key clients

Fluvius

Rabobank

Savencia

Thales

Thales' team has expertise in collective dismissals, TUPE matters, restructurings and discrimination cases, among other areas. The group is also adept at handling individual dismissal disputes. Marie Michaud-Nérard and Olivier Scheuer are key contacts.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis' 'very committed and dedicated' team is noted for its 'pragmatic yet thorough approach' to employment law, and has been kept particularly busy handling restructurings and collective dismissals recently, often with cross-border elements. Catherine Longeval, who has established expertise in litigation, heads up the team. Counsel Sara Beutels and associate Ionathan Ventura have 'outstanding analytical and communication skills'.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Longeval

Other key lawyers:

Sara Beutels; Ionathan Ventura

Testimonials

Sara Beutels has deep legal knowledge‘.

Sara Beutels has been extremely responsive. She was able to grasp not only the legal situation very quickly, but also the human aspect behind it.

Sara Beutels and Ionathan Ventura were always available and responded very quickly and in an very uncomplicated way. We could ask all our questions over and over again and they were always friendly and very polite and knowledgeable‘.

Key clients

DiaSorin

Gedeon Richter

Nanocyl

Orchestra-Prémaman

Work highlights

  • Advising retail company Orchestra Prémaman on its cross-border reorganisation and restructuring.
  • Assisted biotechnology company DioSorin with an internal restructuring, involving collective dismissals.
  • Assisted Canadian company IPL Plastics with the employment aspects of its acquisition of the Loomans Group, involving over 100 employees.

Verhaegen Walravens

The team at Verhaegen Walravens is led by the 'very sharp' Catherine Preumont, who garners praise for her 'strong expertise in labour law'. Immigration issues and termination cases have been prominent in the group's recent workload.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Preumont

Testimonials

Catherine Preumont is an exceptional lawyer with great communication skills‘.

Catherine Preumont is a great professional and an excellent lawyer and litigator. One of the best lawyers I have met. She is truly dedicated and passionate about her work. She is very sharp and at the same time very pragmatic‘.