Labour and employment in Costa Rica

BDS Asesores

The powerhouse team at boutique BDS Asesores continues to expand and lead in the market, providing multinational and local companies with specialists to target a broad range of labour law issues. The team's full service includes advising on the design of compensation plans and internal regulations, confidentiality issues, internal restructuring processes, internal audits and litigation. Led by managing partner and labour law authority Marco Durante, and backed by firm co-founder Francisco Salas, who is an expert in preventive and corrective labour advice, and the tech-oriented Alejandro Trejos, the team advises a client roster over a wide cross-section of industries, including pharmaceuticals, tobacco, health, tech, e-commerce and hospitality.

Practice head(s):

Marco Durante

Key clients

Bridgestone

PriceSmart

3M

Thermofisher

Vertiv

Smile Club Direct

Accenture

Thompson Reuters

Roche

G4S

Work highlights

  • Assisted Align Technology with clarifying the legality of the application of doping tests for employees in Costa Rica.
  • Assisted TE Connectivity with the labour issues surrounding the set-up of new premises, as well as the merger of all its current legal entities into one.
  • Assisted Coopervision in the defence of a claim from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for alleged illegal shifts.

BLP

The 'amazing' labour and employment team at BLP provides multinational clients with the full range of services. These include preventative and corrective advice on labour matters, the management of disciplinary processes, assistance in employment litigation and the handling of extrajudicial negotiations, and the review of employment structures. Led by veteran labour litigator Randall González, and backed by Alexandra Aguilar, who provides training in labour matters, Juan José Montero, who specialises in the employment issues relating to company establishment, and Carla Sánchez, an expert in administrative processes, the group’s roster features household names including Amazon, Uber and  Microsoft, covering such sectors as jewellery, tech, retail, education, tourism, sports, hospitality, food and pharmaceuticals.

Practice head(s):

Randall González

Testimonials

‘This team is an amazing group of lawyers that take very seriously every case they handle. It is a practice with deep reliability and knowledge. They work quickly and are committed to forming strong relationships with the clients.’

‘It is a full-service firm, but in the labour area Randall Gonzalez and Carla Sanchez are definitively outstanding lawyers with great dedication to the cases they handle.’

‘They are always available.’

‘The quality of the team and its excellent availability to assist clients is exceptional. They have specialised knowledge in the field and always provide practical, clear and complete solutions to the company’s requirements.’

Key clients

Amazon

Uber

Microsoft

Colgate

Aliaxis

Bosch

Corner Shop

Assa Seguros

Client Services

Avon

Bayer

British American Tobacco

Cardinal Health

Edwards

General Cable (Prysmian)

AR Holdings (Forever 21)

Zoetis

Swaroski

Repretrel

Tetrapak

Work highlights

  • Advised Amazon on the implementation of remote working processes during the pandemic.
  • Assisted Microsoft with various dispute resolution matters.
  • Advised Aptean on complex labour matters relating to the acquisition of Open Systems Adaptable Solutions.

ECIJA

The employment law team at ECIJA provides key support to clients managing employees at the national and international level. The firm offers assistance in a broad range of matters, including discrimination claims brought by employees, compliance with data privacy law, and collective bargaining and union negotiation. The team is headed by the 'extraordinaryDaniel Valverde and represents high-profile clients including Pfizer and DHL, from such sectors as pharmaceuticals, energy, agroindustry, direct services, education, retail and tourism.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Valverde

Testimonials

‘Deep knowledge of the subject, applied to the operation of companies. The ability to provide immediate attention to the urgent needs of the client. It is the best labour practice with which our company has worked in the last ten years: the availability, accessibility and practicality of the partners has been unique.’

‘Daniel Valverde is an extraordinary attorney, has a deep understanding of employment law, and takes the time to understand the client.’

Key clients

Pfizer

Upjohn

Productora y Exportadora de Frutas y Verduras (Fruver)

Centenario

GSD International School

CMA CGM

Herbalife

Renaware

UPL

Grupo Sega

Ritrama

Pitzer College

Quálitas Seguros

Fundes

Mercantil Farmacéutica (Mefasa)

DHL

Work highlights

  • Advised Pfizer on the legal separation of the Upjohn division and assisted in the transfer of employees to the newly created entities in Central America and the Caribbean.
  • Advised Fruver on negotiations with the two unions in the company.
  • Advised former employees of CFE, Mexico’s public electricity company, on filing a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, claiming that their right to due process was violated when their employment with the company was terminated.

Lang & Asociados

The 'professional and committed' labour and employment practice group at Lang & Asociados assists multinational, local and regional businesses with issues relating to their operations in Costa Rica. The team’s services extend to such matters as advising on terminations, internal investigations, structuring of bonuses and incentives, the outsourcing of employees, and the creation and localisation of employment contracts. Headed by experienced managing partner Henry Lang and Monica Romero, an expert in corporate labour matters, and supported by 'deeply knowledgeable' labour litigation specialist Alejandro Garro, the group represents clients such as Microsoft and Mastercard, with experience in a variety of sectors, including software, tech, energy, medical devices, education and fitness.

Practice head(s):

Henry Lang; Mónica Romero

Testimonials

‘Lang & Asociados are a benchmark in service and professionalism for any national and international firm. Their response times and quality of advice make them great allies; indisputably their attorneys are their greatest resource. The ethics and dedication with which they handle each query are the factors that make working with Lang & Asociados the best experience in my 22 years of work in legal matters and human capital management.’

‘The individuals that I’ve worked with are very professional and committed. The timelines for every engagement have been met without any compromise on the quality of advice or support from the individuals.’

‘The personnel we have dealt with have proved to be qualified in all the technical and professional aspects of a matter.’

‘I was impressed with the responsiveness of the team and quick turnaround on both revisions to contracts and answers to my questions. They provided me with sound legal advice and helped me to become culturally literate on issues that relate directly to employment in Costa Rica.’

‘Henry Lang is easy to work with and easily accessible. Alejandro Garro is deeply knowledgeable on issues of labour law.’

Key clients

Bill Gosling Outsourcing

Microsoft Corporation

Eurofins Scientific

Little Caesars

Medtronic

Nitinol Devices & Components/Confluent Medical Technologies

Indian Industries

United Collection Bureau

Precision Coating Company

Hillphoenix

Westat

Widener University

SecureLink

Mastercard

Builder Homesite

Sensient Technologies Corporation

Smart Fit

Biomerics

Newfire Global Partners

Mitsubishi Materials Corporation

Synter Resource Group

The Warnath Group

SKIM Group

TwinEngines

Verys

Energy Freelance

Work highlights

  • Advised Medtronic on conducting several internal investigations, directing complex terminations, resolving contractual matters, and creating and reviewing employment policies.
  • Advised Eurofins Scientific on labour issues relating to its day-to-day operations in Costa Rica.
  • Advised Smart Fit on labour matters relating to the successful establishment of its operations in Costa Rica during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Aguilar Castillo Love

The seasoned team at Aguilar Castillo Love offers 'detailed and practical' advice to multinational and international clients on a diverse span of labour issues, including compliance and claims relating to discrimination, mobbing and sexual harassment. The group’s full service extends to handling litigation and alternative dispute resolution, advising on outsourcing contracts and training programmes, and managing employment relationships. The team includes experienced head Álvaro Aguilar, labour litigation expert Eric Romero,  who joined the firm from Grupo Jurídico Latinomericano in June 2020, María Lucía Fischel, who specialises in corporate reputation issues, and associate Gloriana Lara Rams. The client roster includes household names such as the Coca-Cola Company, Paypal, AstraZeneca and L’Oréal.

Practice head(s):

Álvaro Aguilar

Testimonials

‘I really admired the solid legal background that was a basis to all the advice we received when working together with the firm, paired with practical experience and smooth cooperation throughout our case. They always aimed at finding solutions for our situation and ensuring we were aware of the advantages and risks associated with any of the possible scenarios.’

‘Absolutely valued the solid experience, the 100% professional style, the detailed and practical advice, the reaction time and the manner of the team.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Coca-Cola on day-to-day labour matters, including the employment aspects of the global restructuring of a business unit.
  • Advised Stryker Corporation in relation to all labour and employment aspects of its acquisition of the Wright Medical Group.
  • Advised Moody’s Shared Services, a global financial services company, across a range of labour matters.

Arias

Led by labour and social security law expert Carolina Soto, the employment team at Arias advises on a broad range of labour matters. These include preventative risk management, litigation, HR management, compensation schemes, internal investigations, establishing training programmes and the employment aspects of corporate restructurings. The group represents regional and multinational clients across industries including logistics, telecoms, food, IT, digital services, manufacturing and automotive.

Practice head(s):

Carolina Soto

Testimonials

‘They have the experience and knowledge to meet the needs of the company.’

‘Friendly and attentive client service. Empathy with the company and objectivity with the case.’

Key clients

Delivery Hero – Glovo

American Tower

SBA

Mondelez

3M

Allyis

Cloud Pay

ELSA

ADOC – Canatur – JR Sánchez

INCAE

L3Harris

Work highlights

  • Advised Delivery Hero on employment issues relating to the acquisition of Glovo’s operations in Latin America.
  • Acting for American Tower in a labour lawsuit for over $5m relating to its employment relationship with a former business partner.
  • Advised SBA on adapting its company handbook to comply with Costa Rican legislation.

BG&A Abogados Corporativos

BG&A Abogados Corporativos acts for regional and international clients, providing a broad range of employment advice to investors, multinationals and entrepreneurs. The team assists with the preparation and registration of internal labour regulations, preventative audits and training programmes on labour topics. Headed by founding partner Benjamín Gutiérrez, and supported by associates María Gabriela Monge, who is an expert in advising on risk prevention policies, and Nicole Damha, who has expertise in internal procedures for processing complaints, the group’s client portfolio covers a diverse spectrum of sectors, including construction, agribusiness, sports, education, hospitality and retail.

Practice head(s):

Benjamín Gutiérrez

Testimonials

‘They are highly professional and the customer service is excellent. They are very human and make it possible for you to have the confidence to consult them about any concern in the workplace and education.’

‘Quick response and availability when required.’

Key clients

Grupo Cobasa

Orconsa

La Coruña Zaragoza de Palmares

Sarah Catherine Gibson Sandi

ACNUR

Comité Cantonal de Deportes de Montes de Oro Puntarenas

Federación de Automovilismo

Asociación Automovil Club de Costa Rica

Asociación para el Desarrollo de Badminton

Federación Paravolleyball

Federación Unida de Triatlón de Costa Rica

Alfaquímica de Centroamérica

Office Depot

Universidad Internacional Sek de Ecuador

Universidad Internacional Sek de Chile

Colegio Internacional Sek – Costa Rica

Colegio Internacional Sek- Chile

Colegio Internacional Sek- Quito

Colegio Internacional Sek – Guayaquil

Colegio Internacional Sek – Los Valles

Colegio Internacional Sek – Pacífico (Viña del Mar)

Colegio Internacional Sek – Austral

Colegio Internacional Sek – Colombia

Colegio Internacional Sek – Guadalajara

Colegio Internacional Sek – Paraguay

Colegio Internacional Sek – Las Américas (República Dominicana)

Colegio Internacional Sek – Budapest

Colegio Internacional Eiris

Colegio Internacional de Levante

Hotel Planas

International Education Systems

Boca Ratón Preparatory School

Panamá Preparatory School

Tiempo Libre Tilisa

Uniformes Designs

Unión Española

Grupo Creativo Diseño y Construcción

SEPER

Iunit

Concretera Nacional

RGIS Servicios Costa Rica

BSDEV Internacional

PVI Costa Rican Optics

Corporación Siete

Productos de Concreto

Sherwin Williams

Transacciones Ferreteras de Costa Rica

Colegio Nuestra Señora de Sion

Metalco

Mexichem

Grupo Sur

Multillantas Panamá

Datatecnología DTCR

Telefónica (Movistar)

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica

Proyectos de Acceso (Proa)

Constructora Volio y Trejos

Consultora, Constructora y Desarrolladora Ecoaire

Plycem

Saint Clare

AASA Automatización Avanzada

Municipalidad de San José

Junta Administrativa del Hospicio de Huérfanos de Cartago y COVAO

Paradise Medical Services

Colegio Santa María

Almacén Mozel

Autosasa

Tecnología Express

Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social

Mafisa

German – Tec

Asesores Contables Duarte Duarte

Grupo Lázaro

Inmobiliaria Madreselva

Civitar

Nexsys Centroamérica

Dylana Mena Camacho

Plasma Innova

Possehl Mexico

Sharon Torres Zamora

Hanna Total Collections

Cooperativa De Empleados De Proyectos Hidroelectricos

Alquiler De Equipo Para La Construccion (Alco)

Representaciones Agropecuarias Técnicas de Centroamérica

Asociación Cultural Monterrey

Asociación Escuela Futuro Verde

Servicentro San Román de Turrialba

Alberysam (Sistema Educativo Montealto)

Econs Structor

Profesionales en Cómputo Procom

Work highlights

  • Advising RGIS on day-to-day labour issues, including preventative labour audits.
  • Advising Representaciones Agropecuarias de Centroamérica on a labour audit to ensure it is compliant with the applicable regulations.
  • Advising Erial (Office Depot) on the preparation and registration of its internal labour regulations.

Bufete Godinez y Asociados

The 'extremely sharp litigators and strategists' at boutique labour and employment firm Bufete Godinez y Asociados act for national and multinational companies and are particularly active in high-value labour litigation. The team's services are divided into five key areas, covering litigation, advisory, collective bargaining, social research and corporate responsibility. The firm is experienced in human management, social audits, the structuring of internal policies, administrative processes, the drafting of contracts and the execution of training programmes on a wide range of employment topics. Spearheaded by 'highly renowned' firm founder Alexander Godinez Vargas, a former alternate magistrate of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, Isabel Jaramillo and litigation department director José Miguel Granados, the firm represents high-profile clients from sectors such as banking and finance, retail, aviation, NGOs and telecoms.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Godinez Vargas; Isabel Jaramillo; Jose Miguel Granados

Testimonials

‘They are always available and attentive, which in the workplace is very necessary. They always present us with various options.’

‘They have a lot of experience in the legislation, they are very trustworthy and their judgement always adds a lot of value for us.’

‘The competitive advantage is that it is a boutique law firm. This ensures specialty, staff stability and personalised attention.’

‘Alexander Godínez is a highly renowned professional with a long track record in private practice and academia. His experience, knowledge and ongoing academic presence are his most outstanding qualities.’

‘I have known the team of lawyers at Godinez & Asociados for years – they are highly qualified, stay up-to-date, and knowledgeable about regulations and jurisprudence. They are very professional in their analysis and possible mitigation of risks. They are extremely sharp litigators and strategists, and have great judgement.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a major company in the private sector and obtained a favourable ruling from the Supreme Court of Justice, in relation to the overtime pay of numerous workers.
  • Acted for a public institution in a lawsuit relating to the payment of additional compensation.
  • Successfully represented a multinational company before the Supreme Court of Justice in a collective bargaining dispute.

Consortium Legal

The team at Consortium Legal provides an 'excellent client service' to multinationals in relation to a broad spectrum of labour issues, including administrative and judicial employment proceedings, the creation of internal regulations and labour issues relating to M&A transactions. The team’s services also extend to advising on immigration matters, such as temporary and permanent residencies and assistance with visa renewals and naturalisation processes. The group is led by Osvaldo Madriz and Mario Quesada-Bianchini, and supported by associates Gerardo Delgado and Catalina Rivera Sanabria, who are labour litigation experts. The team’s roster includes clients across the financial services, fitness, tourism, restaurant and hospitality, and construction sectors. It was strengthened by the arrival of associate Jose Andrés Gutiérrez, a specialist in immigration issues, from an in-house role in February 2020.

Practice head(s):

Osvaldo Madriz; Mario Quesada-Bianchini

Testimonials

‘Clear and precise advice. Successful monitoring of cases. Excellent client service, response times and prices.’

Work highlights

  • Managed a collective bargaining process for Citi Group involving 16 judicial processes.

Dentons Muñoz

The team at Dentons Muñoz provides multinational and local clients with a advice on a comprehensive range of matters concerning labour and employment and business immigration. These include recruitment best practices, union negotiations, the handling of claims relating to discrimination in the workplace, compliance with new laws and regulations concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, labour audits and litigation. The team is led by Anna Karina Jiménez, who focuses on preventative advice, and aided by Daniel Rodríguez, a specialist in labour issues related to M&A transactions. The group’s client roster covers the real estate, tech, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, food and retail sectors, and includes international companies such as Amazon and GlaxoSmithKline.

Practice head(s):

Anna Karina Jiménez

Key clients

VMWare

American Tower Corporation

Panduit

Avantica

Amazon

doTerra

Amadeus

SchoolMint

Private individual

Glatfelter (PH Glatfelter)

Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD)

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

LL Bean

SmileDirectClub

Work highlights

  • Provided SmileDirectClub with day-to-day advice on various employment and labour matters.
  • Advised Panduit on an employment claim filed by a former high-level executive.
  • Advised Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) on day-to-day employment and labour matters.

Facio & Cañas

The labour and immigration practice at Facio & Cañas advises national and multinational clients on matters including immigration, M&A-related labour issues, dismissals, and the design and restructuring of compensation packages. The team is headed by experienced labour litigator Luis Sánchez Montero and senior associate Nelson Loaiza. Other key contacts in the team include associates Roberto Carmona PérezMaría José Soto Gutiérrez, who has particular expertise in sports-related employment arbitration proceedings,  and Erick Rojas Solórzano, an immigration expert. The group’s client portfolio contains household names such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and IBM, and covers sectors including construction, agriculture, food and beverages, tech, automotive and sports.

Practice head(s):

Luis Sánchez Montero; Nelson Loaiza

Key clients

Apex-Bia Foods

Standard Fruit Company

Cisco Systems

Lafarge Holcim

Citrix Systems

Ingenio Taboga

Prolusa

Diageo

Aluma Systems

Matra

Coca-Cola Femsa

Establishment Labs

McDonald’s Costa Rica (Arcos Dorados de Costa Rica)

Asociación de Jugadores Profesionales de Futbol (Asojupro)

APL Service Center Costa Rica

Oracle de Centroamérica

Agencia Datsun

Zimmer Biomet Centroamérica

Lisan

Fujitsu Consulting Costa Rica

Capris

IBM

United World College Costa Rica

Autopistas del Sol – Globalvía

Epson Costa Rica

Work highlights

  • Assisted Telus International with labour issues relating to the acquisition of Lionbridge.
  • Defended Matra in two labour lawsuits, including a claim by an independent worker that was found to be unjustified.
  • Advised Apex-Bia Foods on labour-related due diligence for the purchase of a local company.

EY Law Central America

The labour and employment team at EY Law Central America is led by Fernando Vargas and senior manager Laura Navarrete, who heads the firm's labour and employment practice in Central America, Panama and the Caribbean. Managers María Paula Solórzano and Fiorella Flores, who have expertise in labour litigation, are also noted. The team assists national and multinational companies with a broad span of matters, from structuring employment policies and compensation schemes and drafting employment contracts to handling administrative procedures. The team’s client roster covers such sectors as automotive, telecoms, tobacco, tech, education and hospitality.

Practice head(s):

Fernando Vargas; Laura Navarrete

Key clients

Liberty Latin America

Inchcape

Kimberly Clark

Microsoft Regional Operations

Bayer

Inchcape

National Convention Center of Costa Rica

Fundación Gente

Accenture

Office Designs

Lionbridge

Green Hotels

Bellelli

On Process

Work highlights

  • Assisted Lionbridge Costa Rica with labour issues relating to setting up a new company, which was then sold as part of the agreement to sell Lionbridge’s artificial intelligence division to Telus International.
  • Advised Liberty Latin America on employment matters stemming from the acquisition of Telefónica’s operations in Costa Rica.
  • Assisted the National Convention Centre of Costa Rica with the application of labour and employment measures introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as the reduction of employees’ shifts.

Oller Abogados

The 'diligent' labour law department at Oller Abogados provides a diverse range of services to regional and multinational clients. These include advising on employment agreements, structuring compensation and benefits programmes, assisting with the modification of internal proceedings, drafting working-from-home agreements, and advising on terminations, the negotiation of settlements and litigation. The team is spearheaded by senior partner and director of litigation Ricardo Vargas Aguilar. It acts for clients from such sectors as aviation, construction, shared services, energy, non-profit, food and technology.

Practice head(s):

Ricardo Vargas

Testimonials

‘They are diligent and respond promptly.’

Key clients

Experian

Western Union

Lonza

Petróleos Delta

Feilo Sylvania

Copa Airlines

Aldeas Infantiles SOS

Cámara Costarricense de Construcción

Cámara de Servicios Corporativos de Alta Tecnología

Idom

Work highlights

  • Advised Aldeas Infantiles SOS on its employment situation and the modification of certain internal proceedings.
  • Assisted Copa Airlines with moving from direct employment to an outsourcing system for the employees that render their services in an international airport.
  • Advised Lonza on the implementation of telecommuting procedures due to Covid-19.

Quatro Legal

Highlighted for its 'excellent technical and people skills', Quatro Legal divides its practice into four action lines: employment, conflict resolution and labour disputes, social security and workshops, which covers coaching and training programmes. The group assists with mediation for labour matters, negotiating and managing collective bargaining agreements, the assessment and structuring of compensation packages, and social security compliance and administrative procedures. Led by Marcela Acosta, an expert in corporate labour matters, the team acts for clients in the tech, fitness and energy sectors, among others.

Practice head(s):

Marcela Acosta

Testimonials

‘Excellent availability, quick responses and high-quality technical advice.’

‘The team has excellent technical and people skills.’

Key clients

Central de Servicios

Enel Green Power

Productive Business Solutions

Grupo Vaelste

Rivet Logic Costa Rica

Sfera Legal

Led by founding partner Eric Scharf and Erika Barrantes, who focuses on preventative advice, the labour law team at Sfera Legal advises local and international clients. The group handles labour disputes, the drafting of internal company policies and labour-related due diligence, acting for clients from the beauty, insurance, tourism, hospitality and pharmaceutical sectors. Associate Arnoldo Acuña Alvarado, who is experienced in litigation, is also a key contact.

Practice head(s):

Eric Scharf; Erika Barrantes

Testimonials

‘Very professional.’

‘They are like family to us.’

Key clients

Abbott Laboratories

Praxair

Dell

Pan-American Life Insurance

Sony Electronics

Cheetah Digital

Laboratorios Raven

Establishments Labs

Transporte Costa Costa de Guatemala

Bodhi Tree Hotel

Natural Aloe

Fernández Aguilar

Kuiki Credit

Agencia Marítima Transmares Costa Rica

Flor Blanca Hotel

Ríos Tropicales Group

Azul Fertility Experts

Ballena Media

Work highlights

  • Assisted several clients with procedures to reduce working hours and the suspension of employment contracts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.