Labour and employment in Costa Rica

BDS Asesores

Boutique firm BDS Asesores is the standout labour and employment practice in the country. The large group offers the full gamut of legal services in this area and uses legal tech to facilitate its daily business. With a client portfolio of numerous household names, the firm is regularly instructed to assist with cross-border matters in Central America. Employment contracts, terminations, compensation schemes and regulatory compliance are among the issues handled by Marco Durante's department. Durante is particularly adept at handling contentious matters and negotiations. He is supported by Francisco Salas, who brings additional knowledge of labour law in the civil service to the table and advises multinationals on measures affecting their workforces. Alejandro Trejos has expertise in the impact of technology on the workplace and Ronald Gutiérrez focuses on public and collective labour law matters.

Practice head(s):

Marco Durante

Testimonials

‘They understand that our systems and infrastructure are fairly new and help us with basic issues as well as more complicated matters.’

‘They respond quickly and have a good knowledge of the business. In addition, their opinions are very practical.’

Key clients

Bridgestone

Pricesmart

3M

Thermofisher

Vertiv

Smile Club Direct

Accenture

Thompson Reuters

Roche

G4S

GSK

Baxter

Siemens

ICU Medical

Work highlights

  • Assisted TE Connectivity with the labour aspects of the set-up of new premises, as well as the merger of all current legal entities into one
  • Defended CooperVision against a claim by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security alleging illegal shifts
  • Assisted Qorvo in the process of terminating over 150 employees due to reduction of the workforce

BLP

In addition to advising on preventive measures and compliance, the labour and employment group at BLP assists clients with labour due diligence processes and litigation. Practice head Randall González frequently advises on labour planning and structuring, policies and benefits for executive staff. Associate Alexandra Aguilar is also a key practitioner in this area, especially when it comes to the labour and employment aspects of due diligence procedures. Administrative proceedings, for instance against Costa Rica's social security administration, are a strong suit of associate Juan José Montero, who also assists with matters concerning benefits schemes, compensation and the employment of foreign workers.

Practice head(s):

Randall González

Key clients

Resurgens Tech

Gencom Acquisition

We Work

Jones Lang La Salle

Work highlights

  • Advised Gencom Acquisition on employment matters relating to the purchase of Hotelera Los Altos
  • Advised WeWork on labour matters such as social security enrolment and work-related illnesses and accidents insurance
  • Advised Prysmian on key labour matters

ECIJA

Following the official merger with Expertis Legal in 2018, ECIJA has managed to gain significant ground in the labour and employment market. Practice heads Mauricio París and Daniel Valverde Mesén advise agro-industry, pharmaceutical and retail companies on a wide range of matters including employment discrimination, data privacy compliance and outsourcing. The team, which is highlighted for its 'proactive attitude', demonstrates expertise in the new technologies sector and advises on digital workplace issues such as teleworking, bring your own device policies and the right to digital disconnection. The duo also provides labour and employment advice to the firm's corporate clients, for instance in mergers and acquisitions.

Testimonials

‘The labour team at ECIJA are unique – for us – because of the experience they have built up with us as a business, and their deep knowledge of our company. Their advice is always business oriented. From our point of view, ECIJA stand out from other firms because of their dedication and continuity of service. In addition, at an administrative level, their handling of regional matters is exceptional and allows us to deal with all of our issues through one point of contact, so that we don’t have to coordinate with a different person in each country. Finally, in terms of costs, the practice lets us manage our budget accurately, as their process of billing and managing projects is very effective.’

‘Daniel Valverde stands out for his proactivity, availability and skill in handling all of our company’s needs. For me, ECIJA’s labour team – and Daniel in particular – differentiates itself from other firms by its proactive attitude.’

‘The team has broad experience and keeps up to date with labour issues, guaranteeing strong responses to our concerns and queries.’

‘Knowledgeable and experienced.’

Key clients

Pfizer

Inprotsa

Montesacro

Mexichem

GSD International School

CMA CGM

DHL

Findasense

Fundes

Herbalife

Rena Ware

Impobal

Inversiones Ludycado

Pitzer College

Hotel Sunset del Mar

Ritrama

Quálitas Seguros

UPL

Mefasa

Roles y Muñoneras

Work highlights

  • Advised Fruver and its service provider on the recertification process with Rainforest including a thorough examination of employment matters
  • Assisted UPL with the acquisition of the largest local manufacturer of generic pesticides in Costa Rica including employment compliance
  • Advised Rena Ware on the update of its internal labour policies

Lang & Asociados

The labour and employment team at Lang & Asociados covers a myriad of matters including day-to-day advice, the drafting of employment contracts, terminations and internal investigations. Department head Henry Lang and the 'highly analytical' Monica Romero advise clients from numerous sectors, such as outsourcing, software and medical devices, and frequently use alternative dispute resolution to resolve settlement negotiations with clients' former employees. Lang frequently combines his wealth of corporate experience with expertise in employment issues and Romero is also knowledgeable about immigration law. Associate Alejandro Garro provides key support on a wide range of labour matters.

Practice head(s):

Henry Lang

Testimonials

‘The team has a lot of knowledge of this subject. Monica Romero is really good, including in cases involving the Ministry of Labour, and her conduct is very professional.’

‘They provide very good advice, seek out solutions and achieve results within a reasonable time frame. Monica Romero is outstanding. Henry Lang always follows up on cases.’

‘They stand out for their attention to detail, punctuality and prompt responses, as well as the strength of their arguments: they are clear and always follow the law. Their bilingual communication skills and client service are incomparable.’

‘Alejandro Garro is highly qualified, and drafts documents impeccably in English and Spanish. He is focused on achieving results and providing good client service.’

‘Monica is highly analytical and accessible. She is an expert who knows all the elements of labour matters.’

‘Henry is a true partner who cares about the client’s needs, not just as a business transaction. He deserves congratulations for putting together a high-end team.’

Key clients

Bill Gosling Outsourcing

Microsoft Corporation

Eurofins

Little Caesars

Medtronic

Nitinol Devices & Components/Confluent

Cloudpay

Indian Industries

United Collection Bureau

Precision Coating

Hillphoenix

ATL Technologies

Van Ru Credit

Westat

Widener University

Securelink

MasterCard

Builder Homesite

Sensient Technologies Corporation

Smart Fit

Biomerics

Work highlights

  • Supporting Bill Gosling Outsourcing with the customisation, drafting and modification of employment contracts, and providing advice on day-to-day employment matters and various legal opinions
  • Supported Microsoft Corporation with the consolidation of the labour structure for its new contact and support centre in Costa Rica
  • Supported Little Caesars in the consolidation of its new franchise in Costa Rica

Aguilar Castillo Love

The labour and employment practice at Aguilar Castillo Love provides an additional service for the firm's stellar roster of corporate clients in Costa Rica and the Central American region. Matters related to compliance, discrimination and mobbing are frequently handled by the group. Practice head Álvaro Aguilar-Saborío is particularly strong in the fields of employment contracts and terminations, as well as internal investigations and proceedings. Associate Melissa Miranda left the firm in May 2019 to become an independent legal consultant.

Practice head(s):

Álvaro Aguilar-Saborío

Key clients

The Coca-Cola Company

DHL Costa Rica

Moodys Corporation

Stryker Corporation

AstraZeneca Camcar Costa Rica

Larsen & Toubro Infotech

DXC Technology Company

Movable

Bombardier

Applied Medical Precision

Work highlights

  • Advising DXC Technology on all employment-related litigation
  • Assisting a multinational with a restructuring process

Arias

After losing Graciela Soto to Deloitte Legal in September 2019, in a major coup Arias hired Carolina Soto, formerly labour and employment co-head at regional rival Consortium Legal, in February 2020. She now leads the department together with Carlos Ubico, who also chairs the public law, procurement and environmental law teams. The team provides day-to-day advice, in-house training and risk management services, as well as assistance with labour-related disputes. Clients come from sectors ranging from healthcare and agribusiness to hospitality and chemicals.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Ubico; Carolina Soto

Key clients

Mondelez

Sap

Eurofarma

Canatur

BIC

Amvac

Saam

Work highlights

  • Advised Amvac on the analysis, preparation and formalisation of employment contracts related to a transaction

BG&A Abogados Corporativos

BG&A Abogados is an interdisciplinary law firm fielding a particularly strong labour practice with a strong emphasis on preventive measures and strategies. Founding partner Benjamín Gutiérrez and his team advise national and foreign companies on contracts, internal policies and training, showcasing deep knowledge of labour issues in the healthcare and education sectors. The firm has implemented an artificial intelligence system to provide clients with round-the-clock personalised advice and further assists with labour due diligence and litigation.

Practice head(s):

Benjamín Gutiérrez

Testimonials

‘Several people know about the case so in an emergency if one team member is not there, others can solve it.’

‘They are very quick to respond.’

‘The plus of these lawyers is the professionalism with which they handle situations. They are always ready to respond, regardless of the time or day, if it is an urgent situation.’

‘Excellent service and response times.’

‘They offer a quality service.’

‘Benjamín Gutiérrez is a gentleman of excellence with extensive knowledge and experience.’

Key clients

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 (La Coruña, España)

Colegio Internacional de Levante (Valencia)

Hotel Planas (Salou, España)

International Education Systems

Boca Ratón Preparatory School

Panamá Preparatory School

Tiempo Libre Tilisa (Ecuador)

Uniformes Designs (Ecuador)

Unión Española

Grupo Creativo Diseño y Construcción (Chile)

SEPER

Iunit

Concretera Nacional

Eulen Costa Rica

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 (Saint Mary School)

Artelec

Autosasa

Tecnología Express

Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social

Mafisa

German – Tec

Asesores Contables Duarte Duarte

Grupo Lázaro

Inmobiliaria Madreselva (Ecuador)

Civitar

La Coruña Zaragoza de Palmares

Nexsys Centroamérica

Work highlights

  • Advised Concretera Nacional on the preparation and registration of internal work regulations
  • Advised Colegio Nuestra Señora de Sion on hiring processes, the signing of employment contracts and an institutional regulatory structure
  • Represented Office Depot in negotiations with a former worker who was let go for falsifying the signature of a co-worker to obtain a loan

Bufete Godinez y Asociados

Labour and employment boutique Bufete Godinez y Asociados provides national and international clients with 'innovative solutions'. Novel areas covered by the team include worker's rights in the gig economy, subcontracting and outsourcing. The firm has a strong suit in labour audits as well as in contentious matters and frequently represents clients in the local courts. Founding partner and former labour judge Alexander Godínez Vargas and experienced litigator José Miguel Granados jointly lead the practice. Isabel Jaramillo provides human resources consultancy services.

Testimonials

‘The firm specialises in labour matters, which makes it stand out from its competitors. They offer innovative solutions based on the most recent developments in the jurisprudence. They deal with everything in an agile and timely manner.’

‘Alexander Godínez has extensive experience, stays up to date with the case and is very bold in his strategic handling of litigation and disputes, which differentiates him from his competitors.’

‘What makes this practice unique is its lawyers, their academic knowledge and their extensive experience, as well as their practical attitude and ability to act as a strategic partner in negotiations.’

‘They offer rapid, personalised and accurate advice. It is a boutique firm that truly knows the needs of its clients and is always available to assist and ensure everything is working correctly.’

‘Alexander Godínez has broad experience (as a judge, as a lawmaker, as a litigator and as a businessman) and his perspective on the case and subsequent advice is always very strong. He is a great professional.’

‘José Miguel Granados is a key member of the team. The seriousness and sense of responsibility that he brings to his cases is phenomenal. Not a single detail escapes him and his practical way of handling matters makes our work much easier.’

‘They have high ethical standards, clear and reasonable policies on fees, and provide an attentive, timely and professional service. Highly recommended.’

‘Alexander Godinez, Isabel Jaramillo and José Miguel Granados are very responsible, they have good judgement and provide an excellent service that is fast, professional and attentive.’

Consortium Legal

The 'technically very strong' Consortium Legal offers its corporate clients labour and employment services ranging from contract drafting and terminations to harassment and discrimination claims. Following the departure of former co-head Carolina Soto to join Arias in February 2020, Osvaldo Madriz acts as the sole team leader. His practice covers both individual and collective labour law. Associate Gerardo Delgado del Valle provides key support, particularly in compliance matters and administrative proceedings against Costa Rica's social security authority.

Practice head(s):

Osvaldo Madriz

Testimonials

‘The team is very strong technically, and has a great deal of expertise and knowledge. We have complete confidence in their advice. We think the quality of their work is excellent.’

‘Osvaldo Madriz is excellent and very passionate about his work, which results in excellent advice and assistance. He has provided training to our key members of staff, as well as advising us on day-to-day matters and, of course, the complex issues which often arise in our type of work. He has a great gift for communication, increasing the understanding of labour law and of the rights and benefits of employers and employees, at every level of our business, as well as coming up with creative ideas to resolve complex matters and providing us with the best advice.’

Key clients

Citibank de Costa Rica

Scotiabank de CR

Rada

Banco Lafise

Hotel Hampton Inn by Hilton

Quálitas

Cefa – Cuestamoras

Eurociencia

Hotel Bougnvillea

Pizza Hut

GAMA

Eleimsa

AGF Corp CR

Terranova

Dimeinsa

Hotel Barceló

Davivienda

Grupo Pampa

Cemex

ULACIT

Dentons Muñoz

The main focus of Dentons Muñoz' labour and employment practice is the development and implementation of favourable labour structures to support business growth in the region. Anna Karina Jiménez heads the team, covering all aspects of labour compliance, litigation and employment relationships. Her personal strong suit is business immigration law, where she assists executives and foreign workers. Key support comes from associate Daniel Rodríguez, who advises on labour matters related to mergers and acquisitions as well as social security issues.

Practice head(s):

Anna Karina Jiménez

Key clients

VMware

Pinilla

American Tower Corporation

Avantica

doTerra

Amadeus

SchoolMint

Glatfelter

Merck Sharp & Dohme

GlaxoSmithKline

Work highlights

  • Providing day-to-day advice on recruiting, compensation and rewards to VMware
  • Advising Pinilla on dismissal processes and employment litigation
  • Advised American Tower on the restructuring of employment agreements as well as overtime issues

Facio & Cañas

Fayca Laboral, the labour and employment team at Facio & Cañas, is noted for its 'excellent level of client service'. The practice handles immigration issues, dismissals and M&A due diligence, in addition to its core focus on designing and restructuring tailored compensation packages. Led by Luis Sánchez, the department is well equipped to assist with litigation as well as with employment matters in the sports sector, which is one of Sánchez' areas of expertise.

Practice head(s):

Luis Sánchez

Testimonials

‘Although it is a small team, they make a great effort to keep us well informed and up to date with the most recent developments in labour law. They do not simply respond to queries but always go above and beyond to ensure that the information is clear to us. In addition, they have a lot of resources and documents that are very helpful for our day-to-day activities in human resources.’

‘An excellent level of client service, quick and precise responses providing diverse solutions, highly effective in litigation.’

‘They are proactive, with excellent follow-up.’

‘They provide rapid responses, follow up on cases, have in-depth knowledge, offer clear and concise advice, and are always ready and willing to assist.’

Key clients

Coca Cola Femsa

Establishment Labs

McDonald’s Costa Rica (Arcos Dorados de Centroamérica)

Asociación de Jugadores Profesionales de Fútbol (Asojupro)

APL Service Center de Costa Rica

Oracle de Centroamérica

Agencia Datsun

Zimmer Biomet Centroamérica

World Vision Costa Rica

Aldeas Infantilies SOS

Kapital Asesores Patrimoniales

Aviareps de Centroamérica

We are POP

Sfera Legal

Sfera Legal's labour and employment practice specialises in labour due diligence as well as assisting with corporate transactions affecting the workforce. Eric Scharf and associate Erika Barrantes lead the team, with an additional focus on resolving disputes between employers and employees. Junior partner Fabiola Soler, who brings ample labour law and dispute resolution experience to the table, joined the team from Pignataro Abogados in November 2019.

Practice head(s):

Eric Scharf; Erika Barrantes

Testimonials

‘They stand out due to the speed of their responses, and Erika Barrantes’ advice and high level of involvement and engagement in our projects.

Key clients

Abbott Laboratories

Praxair

Dell

Flor Blanca Hotel

Pan-American Life Insurance

Bodhi Tree

Agencia Marítima Transmares Costa Rica

Transporte Costa Costa de Guatemala

Cheetah Digital

Sony Electronics

Natural Aloe

Fernández Aguilar

Kuiki Credit

Ríos Tropicales Group

Establishments Labs

Laboratorios Raven

Azul Fertility Experts

Work highlights

  • Provided Pan-American Life Insurance with a review of its position with regard to Costa Rican labour law
  • Represented a hotel in a claim brought by an ex-employee, requesting the payment of overtime and differences in the payment of the minimum salary
  • Handling labour litigation, due diligence and day-to-day issues for Praxair Costa Rica

EY Law Central America

EY Law Central America offers its corporate clients additional labour and employment law support, including business restructuring advice and alternative dispute resolution. The team under the joint leadership of Fernando Vargas Winiker and Laura Navarrete, who has 'excellent knowledge of the subject', also makes use of tech tools to help clients identify possible compliance issues. Both are regularly involved in the labour aspects of corporate transactions and day-to-day advice.

Testimonials

‘They provide immediate and confident responses.’

‘Laura Navarrete has excellent English language skills and knowledge of the subject and our operations.’

‘Specialized advice, excellent support with specific proposals on how to proceed.’

‘Laura Navarrete is a very solid lawyer with excellent proposals to manage internal cases.’

Key clients

Getinge

Liberty Latin America

Inchcape

Kimberly Clark

Microsoft Regional Operations

Bayer

Work highlights

  • Assisted Getinge Group Shared Services Costa Rica with the closing of its operations in Costa Rica
  • Assisted Liberty Latin America with the labour-related aspects of its potential acquisition of Telefónica’s operations in several countries in Central America

Oller Abogados

Oller Abogados has experience in a wide range of labour and employment matters, such as the labour aspects of establishing or expanding operations in Costa Rica, compensation structures and internal policies, as well as disciplinary actions and terminations. Ricardo Vargas, who is also an accomplished labour litigator, leads the practice group. Associate Carlos Arias is frequently involved in day-to-day employment matters and acts as first point of contact for labour clients.

Practice head(s):

Pedro Oller Taylor

Key clients

Polycolor

Lonza

Feilo Sylvania

Idom Consulting, Engineering, Architecture

Indecomm Global

World Animal Protection

Experian

Western Union

Copa Airlines

Work highlights

  • Assisted Polycolor with the  labour aspects of establishing the company in Costa Rica
  • Assisted Idom Consulting, Engineering, Architecture with the expansion of its operations and personnel

Quatro Legal

Local firm Quatro Legal's labour practice focuses on employment matters, labour-related conflict resolution, social security compliance and training programmes. Corporate labour law specialist Marcela Acosta heads the team. Her expertise extends to personnel management, recruitment, terminations and collective labour law. The department also operates the Quatro Legal Conciliation Centre (CCQL), an authorised entity for alternative dispute resolution.

Practice head(s):

Marcela Acosta

Key clients

Healthy Snacks (Moyo)

Standard Fruit Company de Costa Rica

Chiquita Brands Costa Rica

Central de Servicios

Work highlights

  • Assisted Healthy Snacks in litigation brought by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security regarding the minimum wage
  • Provided strategic assistance to Standard Fruit Company de Costa Rica (Dole) with the closure of an operational location in Costa Rica