Labour and employment in Costa Rica

BDS Asesores

A clear leader in the Costa Rican market, BDS Asesores' nine-partner-strong team is well equipped to handle complex labour and employment matters involving multinational companies and cross-border issues. Marco Durante leads the team, working with stellar clients such as Bridgestone, Roche and Thomson Reuters. The team acts on sensitive cases, for instance advising fashion retailer Forever 21 on the termination of a number of employees, including high-level management, after closing several distribution centres and storage locations. In another complex work highlight, co-founding partner Francisco Salas represented PriceSmart in the defence of a claim raised by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security for unpaid overtime related to mixed shifts. The team, which also includes noted partners Oscar Corrales Retana, José Joaquín Acuña and Alejandro Trejos, was further strengthened by the promotions of both Cristhian Monge and Marco Arias to partner in October 2018.

Aguilar Castillo Love

Aguilar Castillo Love is known for handling labour and employment matters for institutional clients, among them the second largest private employer in Costa Rica. Regional labour and employment head Alvaro Aguilar-Saborío and associate Melissa Miranda assisted DHL Costa Rica, a regular client of the eight-strong team, with the modification of its employment benefits as well as with the move of an entire business unit to another location. Cargill, Hewlett-Packard and Carlson Wagonlit Travel are also part of the firm's client base. Andrea Sáenz-Mederas is another key figure in the practice.

BLP

BLP's labour and employment practice, headed by Randall González, focuses on advising multinational companies, many of which operate under the free trade zone regime. Along with senior associate to note Alexandra Aguilar, González advised Drake Food Services on the termination of key employees related to the client's acquisition of the Costa Rican operations of pizza chain Papa John's. Millicom, Vinci Airports and BASF are also on the firm's client list.

Consortium Legal

Carolina Soto and Osvaldo Madriz head the labour and employment practice at Consortium Legal, which is regularly involved in matters related to M&A transactions. Major market players from the food and beverages, communications and transportation sectors are on the team's client list. The bread and butter of the department's work consists of day-to-day advice on disciplinary actions, compensation packages and working schedules. Since publication, Soto has moved to Arias, effective February 2020.

Arias

Senior counsel Graciela Soto is the driving force at Arias' labour and employment department. The practice has extensive experience advising national and foreign companies on compliance with local labour laws, the termination of employment relations, and the resolution of disputes between employers and employees, among other matters. Ongoing mandates include regularly assists Amvac with day-to-day matters such as drafting employment contracts and advising on internal policies, and the team also counts international market players including Mondelēz, Eurofarma and Korn Ferry among its clients. Since publication, however, Graciela Soto has moved to Deloitte (September 2019) and the firm has hired Caroline Soto (no relation), from Consortium Legal as new partner-in-charge of the practice, effective February 2020.

Dentons Muñoz

Dentons Muñoz regularly advises clients on day-to-day labour matters and handles litigation relating to unpaid overtime and discrimination, among other matters. In a recent work highlight, the team headed by Anna Karina Jiménez successfully represented Ingenieros Civiles Asociados in a lawsuit filed by a former manager claiming a severance payment. American Tower Corporation, Avantica and GlaxoSmithKline are also on the practice's client list.

ECIJA

ECIJA entered the Costa Rican market in June 2018 after incorporating Expertis' local operations. In recent highlights, practice co-heads Mauricio París Cruz and Daniel Valverde Mesén advised Inprotsa and its service provider Fruver on the process of recertifying with Rainforest, which required compliance with international employment standards, and represented the client in meetings with a local union to handle claims of discrimination and employment law breaches. Other key clients of the department are Pfizer, Mexichem and DHL.

Facio & Cañas

Facio & Cañas' team specialises in highly complex litigation, handling cases relating to unpaid overtime and the termination of employment relations, among others. The firm also covers day-to-day matters, such as advice on immigration issues, dismissals and compensation packages. Another strong suit of the team led by Luis Sánchez is assisting clients in the sports sector, including both executives and sports players, with labour and employment issues.

Lang & Asociados

Henry Lang leads the team at Lang & Asociados, which also includes Monica Romero and Alejandro Garro. The team advises on labour contracts and policies, terminations and disciplinary actions, among other issues. Highlights included advising Microsoft on the consolidation of the labour structure for its new contact and support centre in Costa Rica. Other clients are Eurofins, Medtronic and Bill Gosling Outsourcing.