Bustamante & Bustamante provides the full spectrum of labour services, with recent work focusing primarily on mass terminations and other restructurings arising from Covid-19 and the related changes to legislation. Patricia Ponce is a key figure within the team, handling a wide range of restructuring and termination mandates, while José Rafael Bustamante Crespo is recommended for M&A-related labour work. Key names from the associate ranks include Valentina Morillo and Pedro Gomez de la Torre. Since publication, the firm has announced its merger with fellow local firm Fabara & Compañía to become Bustamante Fabara, effective as of November 2021.
Labour and employment in Ecuador
José Rafael Bustamante Espinosa; Patricia Ponce
Herbalife del Ecuador
Epicore Ecuador (ADM)
Customer Services Ecuador
Michelin del Ecuador
World Vision International
- Advised Edesa on the settlement of a dispute with its labour union following the implementation of Covid-19 labour measures which had resulted in a strike.
- Advised Herbalife on a workplace termination and compliance with legislation enacted in the wake of Covid-19 to ensure workplace safety and avoid fines.
- Defended Epicore Ecuador against a claim by three former employees for dismissal without cause.
Boutique firm Jaramillo Dávila Abogados remains a notable name within the Ecuadorian labour market, providing advice on collective bargaining as well as individual employment relationships, in addition to a substantial contentious practice which is able to handle all levels of court work. Fabián Jaramillo Terán leads the firm, while other key names include Diego Jaramillo Terán and compliance specialist Cristina Jaramillo Román.
Fabián Jaramillo Terán
Pérez Bustamante & Ponce is developing a reputation as a destination practice in the labour law field, with new clients, including substantial foreign players, seeking the firm out specifically for labour advice. The firm is particularly experienced in matters which involve highly regulated industries such as oil, gas and mining, while food and pharmaceuticals are other key focus areas for the team. Javier Salvador heads the team, while director Belén Jaramillo-Álvarez and immigration specialist Diego Palacios are also key names to note.
‘The PBP team has extensive knowledge of this area of law and provides agile and effective advice on the issues that we consult them about. They are always up to date on legal developments and have good relationships with the authorities.’
‘Javier Salvador stands out for his experience and broad knowledge, as well as his close relationship with our company and availability to attend consultations and meetings. His advice gives us confidence in our decision-making.’
‘Solid knowledge and the ability to give clients confidence.’
‘They have the ability to identify the client’s requirements in a timely manner, and provide clear advice and recommendations in each case.’
‘The firm provides a personalised service and stays in close contact with the client. The lawyers know their cases and provide solutions to day-to-day problems.’
‘Javier Salvador has a close relationship with our in-house team, so communication is good. In addition, he knows this area of law and has experience in proposing solutions to day-to-day and complex situations.’
‘Belén Jaramillo is an excellent lawyer. She understands how our company works and proposes solutions to our labour issues that seek to satisfy the company’s needs with the least possible risk. In addition, she responds to all enquiries very quickly. Belén is extraordinary.’
‘Belén Jaramillo is intelligent, practical, resourceful, loyal, trustworthy and kind. She manages our matters perfectly.’
Merck & Co
Phillip Morris International (PMI)
- Defending Hoteles Decameron in a collective action brought by employees and former employees, claiming the payment of overtime and tips between 2009 and 2017.
- Acting for Lundin Gold in various claims over severance brought by former employees hired under a new form of contract introduced by reforms to the Labour Code in 2015 for work on strategic infrastructure projects.
- Advised Merck & Co on labour issues relating to the spin-off of Organon & Co, including the standardisation of benefits and amendments to labour contracts.
Dentons Paz Horowitz houses a labour team which focuses primarily on settlement and mediation in employment disputes, although the team remains more than capable in a court setting when it is unavoidable. Patricia Andrade leads the team, and handles most of the firm's highest-profile contentious work. Immigration is another key part of the firm's employment practice, with senior associate Xavier Montesdeoca acting as the key contact for a range of multinational clients as well as several immigration-focused foreign firms. Senior associate Leyre Suarez frequently assists in contentious work, while associate María Elisa Holmes is recommended for administrative law issues.
Patricia Andrade; Xavier Montesdeoca
‘They are always ready to answer our questions quickly. Xavier Montesdeoca is very efficient and cheerful.’
‘The team’s strengths are its outstanding level of professionalism, transparency, good level of analysis, judgment and responsiveness.’
‘Patricia Andrade stands out for her professionalism and responsiveness.’
‘The advantage of this team is its knowledge of the industry and of our business after acting for us for several years, with exceptional results. Their tireless search for agreement has resolved and avoided many conflicts.’
‘Patricia Andrade’s leadership is remarkable. I have not previously received support of equal quality and commitment to the objectives of my company. Patricia and her team manage cases exceptionally well.’
‘Xavier Montesdeoca is an expert in his field. He is not only very knowledgeable about the current law, but is also very involved in legal reform and the laws in process. He is always very professional and it is a pleasure to work with him.’
‘A team with a diverse range of specialists in various areas of law.’
‘The team stands out for its availability to provide support and attend to client’s requests. They can handle different matters, whatever the topic and level of complexity.’
Quifatex (part of Intercorp Group)
Baker Petrolite del Ecuador
Baker Hughes Switzerland
Safety Enforcement Seguridad Vial
Mision Aviation Fellowship
Campeintegra (Grupo Andinas)
Talma Ecuador Servicios Aeroportuarios
Empresa Durini Industria de Madera (Edimca)
- Advised Novacero on claims filed by former employees for alleged wrongful termination amounting to $3.9m.
- Advised Edimca on a claim brought by a former employee for $50,000.
- Advised Talma Ecuador on a claim filed by a former employee for wrongful termination.
Fabara & Compañía
Francisco Vacas Dávila heads the labour team at Fabara & Compañía, focusing his practice on employer-side representation in dismissal cases, with recent work primarily involving force majeure dismissals arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm also provides a range of compliance advice, as well as handling restructuring work and other employment litigation. María Belén San Andrés and Gabriela Díaz Lozano are key figures from the associate ranks, with the former focusing on litigation, while the latter mainly specialises in termination matters. Since publication, the firm has announced a tie-up with fellow local heavyweight, Bustamante & Bustamante, becoming Bustamante Fabara as of November 2021.
‘The lawyers we work with have taken the time to understand our business and the specific labour-related issues that we have. Other firms usually act as though all clients are the same.’
‘There is a close link between the main partner and the lawyers in charge of the operational part of the matter. We usually receive immediate answers or in special cases they take a prudent amount of time to solve the issue. Francisco Vacas and Gabriela Diaz stand out.’
Juicios por Pandemia
Fundación Malecón 2000
- Defended Remeco in an unfair dismissal claim.
- Handling a number of lawsuits related to the dismissal of employees under force majeure during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Advised Sumelab on the dismissal of two executives.
Lexvalor Abogados is particularly notable for its work on non-contentious labour and employment matters, handling health and safety issues, labour contracts, worker confidentiality, bonus and remuneration structures, and cross-border work such as the hiring of foreign workers. On the contentious side, the firm handles a range of litigation matters, including unfair dismissal, profit-sharing and Covid-related termination cases. The practice is led by Karla Villacís Echeverría, who is particularly experienced in advising clients in the real estate and construction sectors, and Alfredo Peñaherrera Wright, who advises several of the firm's largest corporate clients.
Karla Villacís Echeverría; Alfredo Peñaherrera Wright
‘Good knowledge and contacts.’
‘The Lexvalor team provide us with constant support. Their advice is clear, concise and easy to understand and implement. They are quick and assertive and always available to assist us, even within the tightest deadlines.’
‘Karla Villacis is an excellent adviser. Her practical and assertive approach makes her a joy to work with. Her strategic and business vision has allowed us to implement new practices and ways of working in Ecuador.’
‘The team is very good and well prepared. I feel very confident when I work with them. Compared to other firms it is much better since their advice is personalised.’
‘I have had the opportunity to work directly with Alfredo Peñaherrera and I really enjoy working with him because of his personal and professional qualities. Karla Villacis has also worked impeccably with us. They are a great team of professionals and people.’
‘Lexvalor provide comprehensive answers and objective analysis.’
‘Karla Villacis is an excellent lawyer. She has extensive legal knowledge, provides concrete explanations and has an immediate answer to questions.’
‘The team are up to date with the regulations and provide wise and timely advice. They always evaluate the options and make recommendations about the probability of success in a logical way. We always feel supported by them.’
Alpina Productos Alimenticios (Alpiecuador)
Uribe Schwarzkopf Ingenieros y Arquitectos
Zaimella del Ecuador
Sanofi Aventis Ecuador
Opticas Gmo Ecuador
Grupo Corporación Favorita (and all its related companies, including Comohogar, Comercial Kiwi, Mall El Jardín, Tventas and Flexiplast)
- Advising Alpina Productos Alimenticios (Alpiecuador) on general labour and employment matters, particularly labour contracts and contract terminations, dismissals, retirement, and industrial safety matters.
- Advising Miracielo – Uribe & Schwarzkopf on various matters, including the implementation of disciplinary processes, and guidelines for a good labour environment.
- Advising Zaimella del Ecuador on all aspects of labour law, including the implementation of disciplinary processes and guidelines for a good labour environment.
Robalino Law continues to act for a wide range of high-profile domestic and international clients, in spite of its recent split from the Ferrere international network. The firm is particularly active in contentious work, handling litigation against individual employees as well as collective bargaining disputes, with practice head Luis Carlos Fernández heading up the contentious team. In addition to litigation, the firm handles the labour aspects of corporate transactions, with managing partner Javier Robalino Orellana recently leading the advice to Colour Republic relating to its acquisition of two new farms. New partner Ernesto Weisson is a key name to note from the firm's Guayaquil office, handling a range of employment matters for the firm's clients in that region.
Luis Carlos Fernández
‘Robalino’s team of lawyers stand out for their level of knowledge and optimal advice on the different legal issues that are subject to review within our organisation.’
‘They have broad and in-depth knowledge of the different labour issues that could arise.’
‘Each lawyer pays meticulous attention to detail when handling a case and knows exactly what to do and when to do it to obtain the best result.’
‘Luis Carlos Fernandez provides a highly professional service and clear advice.’
‘They have complete mastery of the ever-changing regulations.’
‘What stands out is their knowledge, permanent availability and refreshing advice.’
Schlumberger del Ecuador
Corporación Grupo Fybeca
- Advising MBA3 on day-to-day labour matters, as well as on its reorganisation during the Covid-19 pandemic and on the termination of employees due to force majeure.
- Acting for Bomi Group in high-profile and complex litigation, including a lawsuit brought by a former executive claiming benefits of more than $250,000.
- Advising Grupo Vilaseca on all labour-related matters, including administrative proceedings and litigation.
Edmundo Ramos leads the labour team at CorralRosales, acting for international clients such as Nestlé, AIG, Novartis and Mastercard, among others. The team provides a wide range of services, including the handling of dismissal procedures, representation before the labour ministry, restructuring, collective bargaining and M&A-related labour advice. At the associate level, Marta Villagómez and Ramón Paz y Miño provide key support; Paz y Miño practises from the Guayaquil office and focuses primarily on litigation.
‘What stands out is the personal service we receive from the lead partner in the labour team.’
‘Edmundo Ramos and Marta Villagomez provide immediate and personalised responses to our queries on labour matters, which makes communication and the resolution of issues very easy.’
‘The CorralRosales labour team is very reliable and achieves the objectives set by the client.’
‘Edmundo Ramos is a forward-thinking person who raises the pros and cons of the possible solutions; however, he also points out the possible ways to mitigate any risks. This allows more and better decisions to be made.’
‘The CorralRosales team stand out for their professionalism, high level of ability and very high-quality advice, proactive responses and warm attitude.’
‘Edmundo Ramos and Marta Villagomez are always available, friendly and highly able and their response times are excellent.’
RB Reckitt Benckiser
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
- Advised Securitas on reaching a settlement agreement with its former general manager and with the former financial director, who had sued the company for alleged unpaid severance.
- Advised BMI on obtaining profit-sharing consolidation authorisation from the Ministry of Labour.
- Advised RB on its strategy to implement teleworking in its Ecuadorian operation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Durini & Guerrero Abogados handles a range of contentious and non-contentious labour matters, advising on restructurings, collective dismissals and individual compensation issues in addition to defending clients against claims brought by employees. Recently, team has been particularly active in handling collective redundancies and restructurings resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Litigator Juan Francisco Guerrero leads the team with senior associate Danilo Román Fabara, who advises on labour policies, individual and collective negotiations and conflict prevention.
Juan Francisco Guerrero; Danilo Román Fabara
‘Durini has specialists in each sector, be it labour, civil, administrative or public law. The firm is diverse, and the lawyers are young and agile.’
‘The team provide a high-quality and immediate response to the needs of our company, and 100% of our cases have been resolved by Durini.’
‘The team’s strengths and abilities are: their reliability and professional ethics, kindness, honesty, availability for consultations and unconditional support in the resolution of the problems that have been presented to us. I believe that what distinguishes them is their commitment and loyalty to the client, which goes beyond just providing a service in exchange for financial compensation. Their priority is not the financial part but client service.’
‘Juan Francisco Guerrero and Danilo Román Fabara have complete understanding of their specialist area and the ability to convey the legal reality of each issue in language that is understandable to non-lawyers.’
‘The Durini & Guerrero team are very professional, ethical and accurate in all their recommendations, interventions and advice. They are a well-rounded and solid team who have handled all of our cases with our company’s interests in mind.’
‘The team stands out for its availability 24/7, 365 days a year, and its openness and willingness at all times to resolve our doubts and concerns or address emerging issues.’
‘Juan Francisco Guerrero is creative in his advice and provides fast responses.’
Nipro Medical Corporation
Hanrine Ecuadorian Exploration and Mining
Leterago del Ecuador
EQR – Equatoroses
Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Cooprogreso
Agroservicios Andinos Camacho
Security Airport Services (Airportsec)
Sistran Andina (Sistrandi)
- Advised Tecfood Servicios de Alimentacion, a subsidiary of Hanaska Group, on its staff and payroll restructuring as a result of the pandemic.
- Advised Peruzzi on the dismissal of staff or reduction of activities as a result of the pandemic.
- Advised Servicios Alimenticios Domoroom on the closure of the company, which meant the total liquidation of the payroll, due to the current economic difficulties.
ECIJA GPA acts for growing client base of both local and international companies, advising on day-to-day issues including labour contracts, compliance with Ecuador's labour laws and the termination of employment relationships, as well as on interactions with public institutions such as the Ministry of Labour and Social Security Institute. In addition, the team has a strong mediation and litigation practice. Juan Carlos Montenegro, who is highly experienced in labour litigation and collective negotiations, leads the team with Byron Sotomayor and Édgar Méndez, both of whom are based in the Guayaquil office.
Byron Sotomayor; Juan Carlos Montenegro; Édgar Méndez
‘ECIJA GPA responds quickly and efficiently to our requests, always looking after our company’s interests. They are always up to date with any reform or change in the law, which means that they can provide a timely response to our queries. The team focuses on the prevention of conflicts between employees and employers; they have quickly assisted us with mediation processes, policies and internal training, among other things.’
‘The team members have experience in various industries and that gives them a broader perspective when advising us. It is evident that they put themselves in our shoes, without ever neglecting the regulatory frameworks, which allows us to avoid future problems. The team’s business vision is very dynamic and proactive, its lawyers are highly specialised and they do not care about increasing their fees but about acting in our interests. The service has been very good; they have advised on the complication solutions that the government proposed for employers to solve labour problems caused by the pandemic and provided clear and simple advice, with efficient results.’
‘The ECIJA GPA team is made up of lawyers focused on various areas, which I consider to be a strength that many other law firms in the country do not have. Its members also have a personal touch, which allows us to explain problems and difficulties and seek solutions according to our needs. Additionally, this team has vast knowledge of the law and of the government institutions and contacts within them, which facilitates matters, since in Ecuador these processes can be cumbersome and long if there are no clear points of contact.’
‘The team were always ready to answer our questions, regardless of the time or day of the week. We had to contact to them even during holidays and we received timely and effective responses to resolve our problems and concerns. It is important for us to have this level of responsiveness, and we will continue to request their services, above all because of their awareness of our needs, their expertise and experience, and their personal qualities.’
Petroleos Del Pacifico (Pacifpetrol)
Promotora Hotel Dann Carlton Quito (Promodann)
DNI Democracy National Institute
Maquinarias y Vehículos (Mavesa)
- Acted for Pacifpetrol in claims brought by numerous former workers relating to the termination of employment due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Advised Dann Carlton on the modification of labour contracts and employees’ schedules to allow the company to continue operating during the pandemic.
- Advised the National Democracy Institute on its launch in Ecuador, including reviewing corporate policies and adapting them to Ecuadorian labour legislation, and creating contracts for new personnel in Ecuador.
Noboa, Peña & Torres, Abogados is particularly active on employee termination mandates, with a strong focus on mediation as well as a notable litigation practice. Trade union relationships are another key area for the team, with practice co-head Marcelo Torres Bejarano handling negotiations for large collective bargaining agreements. Torres is also recommended for contentious work, while Patricio Peña Romero is frequently instructed in relation to the employment aspects of corporate restructurings, including the mass layoffs and home working protocols that have been prominent during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Marcelo Torres Bejarano; Patricio Peña Romero
‘They have the ability to analyse cases immediately and come up with effective solutions without incurring unnecessary risks.’
‘They have extensive experience in their field.’
Grupo Corpesa – Corporación Ecuatoriana De Aluminio (CEDAL)
Barry Callebaut USA
Comisariato Gonzalo Zambrano
Bassil Hand Tailored
Laboratorios Industriales Farmacéuticos Del Ecuador (LIFE)
Barry Callebaut Ecuador
Aero Express Del Ecuador Trans Am
Sociedad De Destilación De Alcoholes (Soderal)
Panamericana Vial (Panavial)
Sociedad De Beneficencia De Señoras
Operadora De Transporte (Distrilogico)
Plásticos Del Litoral (Plastlit)
Panaderia California (Pancali)
Sudamericana Integral De Construcciones (Sudinco)
Gente Oil Ecuador
Champion Technologies Del Ecuador (Championtech)
Universal Ferretera Unifer
Puente & Asociados is best known for its non-contentious practice, providing high-level contractual advice, as well as handling the design of labour structures for both new firms and existing players seeking to restructure. The firm is also active in contentious work, acting for employees in their claims for unfair dismissal, as well as advising large pension associations. The team is led by Miguel Puente and Guillermo Córdova, while Paola Quezada is a key name from the associate ranks.
Miguel Puente; Guillermo Cordova
‘The team is made up of lawyers who have specialisms in different branches of the law, which makes its advice comprehensive and effective. Compared to other firms, they offer better value: their work is thorough, effective and prompt, and meets all the needs we have.’
‘The lawyers have a strong work ethic and we feel supported at all times. What I value the most is that although we have a delegated lawyer for our case, the whole team can follow up on issues and respond at any time we need them.’
‘Miguel Puente is an extraordinary litigator. His expertise and understanding of the law gives us a lot of security. Guillermo Cordoba is an expert in constitutional and legal matters for public and private entities. He has strategies that make it possible to win very important cases. Paola Quezada is an excellent lawyer when it comes to advising on the labour and tax fields. She looks for the best solutions and investigates all the angles, which allows us to make the best decisions.’
‘The Puente & Asociados team is very well rounded and gives immediate answers. They are a part of our team.’
‘They provide a prompt and personalised service.’
‘They are very open to discussing the client’s requirements. Miguel Puente is very friendly and professional.’
‘I think the closeness of our relationship with the team makes us feel supported in all our matters. That is a strength compared to other firms. The team’s knowledge and advice has been of great value to us.’
‘Guillermo Cordova shows creativity in solving cases, always following the law and taking into account the needs of the company. He provides a high level of client service. Paola Quezada knows how to listen and propose alternatives, and shows an excellent level of management and follow-up of cases. Miguel Angel Puente is always ready to provide solutions in all branches of law.’
- Representing ASOPREP in various claims by former participants in the organisation who are seeking retirement payments.
- Representing an individual in a claim for unfair dismissal, in which additional compensation is requested for not taking back the worker after overcoming an illness not caused at work.
- Acting for an individual in a claim for unfair dismissal, seeking to include the claimant’s monthly commissions as part of her salary.
Romero Arteta Ponce
Romero Arteta Ponce counts several notable multinationals among its clients, including Toyota and Siemens, in addition to a strong following in the oil sector. The firm handles both contentious and non-contentious work, defending its clients against lawsuits by employees, as well as advising on the legal implications of employment strategies. The team is jointly led by veteran practitioner Gustavo Romero and disputes specialist Diego Romero, while former Ministry of Labour lawyer Carlos Cisneros is a key contact from the associate ranks.
Gustavo Romero; Diego Romero
‘Extensive knowledge, timely communication with clients, up to date on legal reforms.’
‘Diego Romero is closely involved in clients’ cases.’
Toyota Tsusho del Ecuador
Toyota del Ecuador
Zaimella del Ecuador
- Defending Pluspetrol Ecuador in a labour lawsuit.
- Defending Eni Italy in a labour lawsuit.
- Advising Siemens on various labour issues.
Solines y Asociados is home to a wide-ranging labour practice that advises major foreign and domestic players on their labour needs. Recent work has focused largely on the pandemic, with a major chuck of the practice devoted to advice on the new Humanitarian Support law, including the drafting of contracts and negotiations with employees. The firm is also highly recommended for M&A-related labour work, advising on the large-scale transfer of employment relationships following transactions. Pablo Solines heads the team alongside Ximena Moreno Echeverría, while founding partner Carlos Solines and associate Andrea Muñoz are other key names to note.
Pablo Solines; Ximena Moreno Echeverría
‘They provide knowledge and support at every step and are very diligent.’
‘Pablo Solines explains everything and guides the client through the process.’
‘The team have an excellent level of professionalism and availability to assist clients at all times. They understand our needs and seek the best solutions within the legal regulations. The labour team has been a great support during the pandemic – they have offered us webinar sessions that have kept us up to date and able to make decisions.’
‘Pablo Solines is an excellent lawyer with a practical, assertive and agile approach.’
- Advised Agroflora on its sale and the transfer of about 120 workers to the new company.
- Advised Hilsea Investments on its sale and the transfer of workers to the new company.
- Advised Alamedaecu on labour measures applied as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.