Labour in Guatemala

Alta QIL+4 Abogados

Multinationals from a range of industries, including retail, hospitality, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and energy, make up a large part of the client base at Alta QIL+4 Abogados, which also acts for a number of local clients. Praised for its 'availability, knowledge and adaptability', the team is skilled in advising on the labour aspects of major corporate transactions, the termination of employment relationships (including in cases involving senior executives), and in litigation and the negotiation of collective conflicts, particularly for clients in the business process outsourcing industry. At the head of the practice, Evelyn Rebuli has longstanding experience in labour disputes, compliance and audits, employee dismissals and drafting labour policies for corporate clients, among other areas. Senior associate Javier Castellán regularly advises on the labour aspects of M&A transactions, compliance and risk management, social security and immigration issues, and associate Ingrid Fuentes has recently been particularly active in labour litigation.

Practice head(s):

Evelyn Rebuli

Testimonials

‘The most important thing about the team is its ability to communicate and to adapt to change based on the client’s internal needs. It definitely outperforms the teams at other firms.’

‘Immediate assistance, availability, knowledge and adaptability.’

‘QIL attorneys have a deep understanding of the business world, so they understand the needs of the company and thus meet our needs accurately and effectively. Their availability and response times are extraordinary. They look for innovative and realistic solutions.’

Key clients

Telus

Abbott

AbbVie

Henkel

Dollarcity

Enel

Ingenio San Diego

Banco G&T Continental

Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala

Walmart

Wartsila

BATCA

Jaguar Energy

Centro Médico

Transactel

Ferrreterias EPA

TRECSA

Work highlights

  • Advising Telus on drafting its company handbook on remote working and assisted with any issues with employees during the mandatory shutdown imposed by the local authorities in Guatemala during the pandemic.
  • Advised Mexican cinema franchise Cinepolis MX on the collective suspension of 250 employees while its operations were shut down in Guatemala due to the pandemic.

Arias

Highlighted for its ‘expertise in labour matters‘, Arias has recently been particularly active in advising clients on labour issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic, including reorganisations, remote working policies, the termination or suspension of employment contracts, and compliance with the changing government regulations. The team has also seen an increase in work advising clients on internal and Ministry of Labour and Social Security inspections, and on immigration issues including the hiring of foreign employees. Assisting with the labour and regulatory side of large-scale M&A transactions, including multi-jurisdictional matters, is another area of strength. Managing partner Liz Gordillo, described as ‘one of the best labour lawyers in the region‘, leads the team. She receives strong support from senior associates Rosa María Arenales, who regularly advises on compliance with labour policies and on resolving labour disputes, and María Elena Barrientos, who is experienced in occupational health and safety issues. Since publication, Arenales has been promoted to the partnership - effective January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Liz Gordillo

Testimonials

‘The firm stands out for its knowledge of labour laws and their application. What is valuable is that they explain to us all the different risks that we may face, depending on which strategy we are considering.’

‘What sets Arias apart is its knowledge and expertise in labour matters. I believe that the firm has one of the best labour lawyers in the region in Liz Gordillo.’

‘They have specialised knowledge, which is very important for us because, as a global company, we must align the different local practices to the internal policies of the company. Labour matters in Latin America are complex, and specialisation is required.’

‘A local firm with a focus on global companies.’

‘Good availability.’

Key clients

3M

Chevron

Energizer

TFCF International Channels (previously FOX) / Disney

Walmart

Bayer

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bimbo

Johnson & Johnson

International Development Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Delivery Hero on the employment aspects of its acquisition of Glovo’s operations in Latin America.
  • Advised numerous multinationals on complying with regulations issued by the Guatemalan government during the Covid-19 pandemic, including in relation to the suspension of employment and modifications to working conditions.
  • Advised VXI Global on developing a policy to regulate the remote working of employees in its call centre operations in Guatemala.

Consortium Legal

Consortium Legal's 'excellent' team stands out for its strength in collective bargaining and trade union disputes, but it also advises on occupational health and safety matters, the labour aspects of M&A transactions, retirement and pension fund issues, and - particularly during the pandemic - the extension and suspension of employment contracts and compliance with government labour regulations. The team focuses on advising multinationals from sectors including financial services, retail and pharmaceuticals, and often advises on cross-border matters with the assistance of the firm's other regional offices. Practice head Lionel Aguilar has broad expertise, including advising international clients on obtaining permits and licences for their foreign employees. At senior associate level, Federico Zelada is a specialist in collective bargaining, as well as advising on M&A and social security issues, and Cristina Sandoval focuses on immigration and occupational health and safety matters.

Practice head(s):

Lionel Aguilar

Testimonials

‘They know our business, have a good relationship with our team, give timely responses and propose solutions that are realistic for us.’

‘They have an excellent team. Lionel Aguilar and Federico Zelada are up to date with the legal and jurisprudential criteria, and their commitment and dedication means they provide a quality service.’

‘Consortium is an extremely reliable firm. The knowledge they have about immigration procedures in Guatemala allows us to anticipate issues and prepare properly. The client service is excellent and the follow-up on any problem that we have encountered is truly of the highest standard.’

‘The client service, response times and the quality and knowledge of the lawyers is outstanding.’

Key clients

PepsiCo

Corporación Muti Inversiones

DHL Global Forwarding

Industrias Alimenticias Kern’s (FIFCO)

Ternium Internacional Guatemala

Unipharm

Syngenta

GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit)

Walmart

Asofarma

Samsung Electronics

BAC – Banco de América Central

Dole

Work highlights

  • Advising agro-industrial multinational Corporación Multi Inversiones on the standardisation of its payroll procedures in Central America, allowing the company to use the same standard of benefits and remunerations throughout the region.
  • Advised PepsiCo on the restructuring of employment relations due to the introduction of new machinery in the company.
  • Assisted Industrias Alimenticias Kern’s (FIFCO) in negotiations with the union of its factory in Guatemala.

BLP

The 'excellent' team at BLP has been active advising on the reorganisation and closure of businesses due to the pandemic, in addition to assisting with labour disputes, compliance with government regulations, and internal policies and crisis management. The team also handles immigration issues, advising foreign companies on obtaining visas and residence and work permits for their employees in Guatemala. Clients include national and international companies from sectors spanning technology, transport, logistics and retail, among other areas. The practice is jointly led by Luis Ruiz, who handles complex labour litigation and negotiations involving large numbers of employees, and special counsel Cynthia Sequeira, whose experience includes advising on reorganisations, mass terminations, salary reductions and suspension of contracts. Senior associate Jacobo Martínez is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Luis Ruiz; Cynthia Sequeira

Testimonials

‘We feel supported and we know that the team will assist us with any legal problem and provide opinions that can be sustained and defended. We feel comfortable with Luis Ruiz’s work and advice.’

‘Their attention and availability to the client is excellent. In addition, their opinions and queries are always correct, clear and objective, since they understand the client’s needs and provide an effective solution.’

‘The entire team is excellent, especially Cynthia Sequeira. They are always available and capable of providing clients with the best solution.’

Key clients

Uber

Samsung

American Airlines

UPS

Nokia

Microsoft

Forever 21

HCL

COCESNA

Dole

Work highlights

  • Advised Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aerea (COCESNA) during the reorganisation of its employees and the termination of 25% of its workforce in six countries.
  • Advised Samsung Electronics on running the operations of the company in Guatemala under the Covid-19 presidential provisions which required the closure of businesses.
  • Advised Dole Food Company on the implementation of emergency labour measures due to the restrictions issued by the Covid-19 presidential provisions.

BUFELCO Bufete López Cordero

Bufelco Bufete López Cordero specialises in acting for employers in collective and individual labour litigation before the courts and administrative authorities, in addition to advising on the labour aspects of corporate transactions, collective agreements, social security and immigration issues. The key contacts are managing partner Guillermo López Davis and Juan José Jiménez.

Practice head(s):

Juan José Jiménez; Guillermo López Davis

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.'s 'very accessible' and 'well-rounded' team advises on a wide range of labour matters, including labour disputes, employee terminations, employment contracts, occupational health and safety regulations, immigration issues and internal employment policies. Through his position as president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala, practice head Rafael Briz is able to offer advice to a number of Spanish companies with a presence in Guatemala on matters including work and residency permits and local labour regulations. Other key clients include multinational and local companies from the healthcare, retail, pharmaceutical, technology and hotel sectors. Briz is supported by experienced senior associates Suzel Obiols and Carmen Escobar, who specialises in immigration issues.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Briz

Testimonials

‘I believe that this firm makes the ideal ally and strategic adviser. The lawyers always demonstrate that they have the most up-to-date knowledge, and that allows them to promptly advise clients and resolve doubts. Mayora’s lawyers work very well as a team, and have great internal communication. The entire team is very accessible, and they are always available to assist us.’

‘The lawyers at Mayora know how to listen, and that allows them to fully understand the requirements of each case and provide adequate advice. They are very respectful and professional.’

‘The labour lawyers at Mayora & Mayora, particularly Suzel Obois, are very well rounded and always consider the labour aspects of any situation, advising in a holistic way on the possible internal repercussions that any actions could involve. Having Suzel’s advice on the day-to-day workings of the company is a great added value.’

‘Extensive knowledge of the law, a very ethical approach, personalised client service.’

Key clients

AC Marriott (Marriott International)

Applus Norcontrol de Guatemala

Elevadores Otis of Mexico and Central America

Ogilvy & Mather

GBM Guatemala (an IBM Alliance Company)

Tydfil (Liztex)

Payless Shoesource de Guatemala

Productos Roche Guatemala

Rafractarios Nacionales (Grupo Morgan)

Grupo Proval Internacional (Prosegur)

Work highlights

  • Assisting AC Marriott (Marriott International) with the collective suspension of 29 employees during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as providing ongoing advice on labour disputes, the hiring and dismissal of employees, labour regulations and internal policies.
  • Advised Payless Shoesource de Guatemala on occupational health and safety regulations and the collective suspension of 250 employees due to the pandemic, as well as providing ongoing employment advice.
  • Advised GBM (an IBM Alliance Company) on regulations regarding biosecurity and workplace safety, as well as the suspension of employees during the pandemic.

Valenzuela Herrera & Asociados

Augusto Valenzuela Herrera leads the team at boutique labour firm Valenzuela Herrera & Asociados, which has longstanding experience advising on compliance with labour regulations, employment contracts, internal policies, and obtaining work permits and visas for foreign employees. The team also handles contentious employment matters.

Practice head(s):

Augusto Valenzuela Herrera

Aguilar Castillo Love

Aguilar Castillo Love counts international companies from the healthcare, agriculture, and food and beverages sectors among its clients, advising on a wide range of labour issues including the termination of employment contracts, outsourcing agreements, health and safety regulations, and the labour aspects of corporate transactions. During the pandemic, it has frequently advised employers on the labour implications of various regulations issued by the government, an area where regulatory practice head Natalia Callejas Aquino has been particularly active. René Vicente Rodriguez, who focuses on labour-related litigation, and associate Luis Manuel Contreras lead the labour team.

Practice head(s):

Luis Manuel Contreras; René Vicente Rodríguez

Key clients

Corporación Indyknit

Autozama

Johnson & Johnson

IQVIA RDS

The Dow Chemical Company

The Nature Conservancy

Buckmans Laboratories

Whirlpool Corporation

Epson

Work highlights

  • Advised Schwartz Partners, a US holding company that manages apparel manufacturer Corporación Indyknit, on labour matters relating to its two production plants in Guatemala.
  • Advised Mexican company Buckmans Laboratories on the options for hiring personnel in Guatemala.
  • Providing continuous advice to Corteva Agrisciences on labour agreements, terminations and dispute resolution.

EY Law Central America

With offices throughout the region, EY Law Central America is able to provide its multinational clients with advice on labour issues in different jurisdictions. The team advises on the labour aspects of M&A and other transactions, compliance with labour regulations, health and safety matters, and collective negotiations. The full-service firm has also developed an internal initiative, "Crezcamos juntos", which offers advice on labour issues to its other departments. Costa Rica-based Hernán Pacheco is well versed in advising on the labour implications of corporate transactions. Managers Mirla Tubac and Elmer Vargas, who leads the immigration department, are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Hernan Pacheco

Key clients

GlaxoSmithKline Guatemala

Bayer

Office Depot

ThyssenKrupp Elevadores de Guatemala

Givaudan Guatemala

Honduras Prospera

Ambev Guatemala

British American Tobacco

Grupo Rotoplas

Expeditors Guatemala

Work highlights

  • Advising Bayer on immigration issues and labour permits for its international employees, as well as on day-to-day labour issues.
  • Advising Office Depot on day-to-day employment matters.
  • Advising ThyssenKrupp Elevadores de Guatemala on day-to-day employment matters.