Labour in Guatemala

Arias

Multinational companies turn to the 'exceptional' labour team at Arias for advice on the labour aspects of corporate transactions, the transfer of employees, the structuring of benefits, and regulatory and immigration issues. The team also advises on employee compensation, hiring and termination, and staff restructuring and outsourcing. Employment litigation and collective bargaining negotiations with trade unions are other notable areas of expertise. The experienced Liz Gordillo leads the practice. Key contacts at the senior associate level include Rosa María Arenales, who has expertise in immigration law and the employment aspects of corporate matters, and María Elena Barrientos, who specialises in litigation and collective bargaining.

Practice head(s):

Liz Gordillo

Testimonials

‘It is an excellent firm; I thoroughly recommend it. The team always deal with our queries quickly and efficiently, their advice is straightforward, and their work is clear and demonstrates their broad knowledge of this area of law, so much so that we have extended our use of Arias’ services to other regions in Latin America.’

‘In labour matters, Arias provide objective advice, explaining the different scenarios that could arise depending on the decisions we take. We find this valuable, as what clients most need is to know the different possible outcomes in order to make the best decision.’

‘The team are always available and provide responses in good time.’

‘The team stands out for the availability of the lawyers: you feel like you are the only client at the firm, as they respond rapidly and treat your matters as a priority. I would like to highlight the services of Rosa Maria Arenales and Liz Gordillo; we have worked closely with them for the last three years.’

‘The labour team are exceptional. Their strongest points are their ability to provide services in an emergency, the objectivity of their advice and the professionalism with they handle matters. The assistance they provide is impeccable. It is the best firm we have worked with.’

‘Liz Gordillo has provided an impeccable service since we started working with her. She is always available to deliver the services we require, she tries to reduce the risks to our business to the minimum, and she always suggests measures and actions that we have not even considered. She explains Guatemalan labour issues in such a way that it is easy to take in.’

Key clients

Chevron

VXI

Fox International Channels, S.C.A

Operadora de Tiendas

Bayer

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Bimbo

BIC Latin America

International Development Bank

C&W Business

Work highlights

  • Advised Telefónica on the labour aspects of the sale of its operations in Central America to América Móvil and Millicom, including the transfer of the workforce, international employment structures, business transfer laws and post-transaction integration issues.
  • Advised 21st Century Fox on all labour matters relating to its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company, including the transfer of employees, reduction in headcount and labour benefits.

Alta QIL+4 Abogados

QIL+4 ABOGADOS, S.A. has extensive experience in labour law matters, ranging from advising on terminations (including those involving senior management) to employment litigation and collective bargaining negotiations. The team also advises on compliance with labour regulations, risk prevention and employment-related due diligence in corporate transactions. Clients include multinationals and local companies from the pharmaceutical, business process outsourcing, energy, food and beverage, and telecoms sectors. 'Exceptional' practice head Evelyn Rebuli and senior associate Javier Castellán are praised for their 'broad knowledge of labour law'. Associate Ingrid Fuentes, whose experience includes advising on immigration and social security issues, is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Evelyn Rebuli

Testimonials

‘We are aware of the prestige that QIL+4 Abogados’ labour practice has accumulated over the years. It has highly qualified lawyers with exceptional skills. One of the greatest benefits for clients is that when advising on labour matters QIL+4 has the ability to draw on the complementary skills of its other practices and provide comprehensive advice.’

‘Evelyn Rebuli and Javier Castellán are exceptional lawyers with a broad knowledge of labour law and of the principles that are applicable in this area. Their personalised client service undoubtedly sets them apart.’

‘All of the lawyers in the team have legal knowledge and trial experience.’

‘Ingrid Fuentes, Javier Castellán and Evelyn Rebuli worked with us in a very professional manner. All the members of the team are able to provide the right advice.’

Key clients

Telus

Abbott

Abbvie

Henkel

Dollarcity

Enel

Pantaleón

Banco G&T Continental

Banco Agromercantil de Guatemala

Walmart

Wartsila

BATCA

Jaguar Energy

Centro Médico

Transactel

Ferrreterias EPA

BLP

BLP represents a growing client portfolio of leading local and international companies in labour litigation. It also assists with day-to-day employment matters, including employee compensation, vacation policies and the hiring of employees, compliance with local labour laws, and obtaining visas and residence permits for senior managers of foreign companies. Special counsel Cynthia Sequeira, who has expertise in labour litigation and immigration law, leads the practice, and the experienced Luis Ruiz is also a key contact. Former associate Jeimy Aldi left the firm in February 2019 to set up his own firm.

Practice head(s):

Cynthia Sequeira

Key clients

BMI

Mission Produce

Assist Card

HCL

Aliaxis

Amspec

Dole Food Company

Standard Fruit de Honduras S.A.

Uber

Uber Eats

Mastercard

PF Changs

Work highlights

  • Advised Asociación Guatemalteca de Instituciones de Seguros (AGIS) on its employee compensation programme, among other matters.
  • Advised Standard Fruit de Honduras (a subsidiary of Dole Food Company) on modifying the vacation policy for its Guatemalan employees
  • Advised Grupo Terra on compliance with the Ministry of Labour’s regulations.

BUFELCO Bufete López Cordero

Boutique firm BUFELCO Bufete López Cordero is well versed in collective and individual labour litigation before the courts and the administrative authorities. The team also advises on the labour aspects of major corporate transactions, collective agreements, social security and immigration issues, including obtaining work permits and special visas, where it assists local and international companies and financial institutions. The team is jointly led by managing partner Guillermo López Davis and Juan José Jiménez, who has broad contentious and non-contentious labour law expertise.

Key clients

Cementos Progreso, S.A.

Banco de Guatemala

Unilever

Corporación Multi Inversiones

Corporación General De Tractores, S.A.

Banco Industrial, S.A.

Gallo Más Gallo – Grupo Monge

Cofiño Stahl

Grupo PAF

La Panería – Panadería San Martin

Work highlights

  • Acted for an insurance company in labour litigation with an insurance agent who made a claim to be treated as an employee rather than an independent business owner.
  • Advised Banco G&T Continental on the employment aspects of the closure of a business unit, which involved the termination of more than 400 employees.
  • Advised Grupo Monge (Gallo Más Gallo) on the defence of overtime claims before the administrative and judiciary authorities.

Consortium Legal

The 'highly capable' labour law team at Consortium Legal has notable experience in advising multinational corporations on employment issues relating to M&A transactions, retirements and pension plans, contracts and immigration issues. It also represents employers in litigation and collective bargaining negotiations, and assists with labour law compliance and health and safety matters. The highly regarded Lionel Aguilar, whose expertise includes handling labour litigation and work permits for foreign employees, leads the practice, supported by 'excellent' senior associate Federico Zelada, who specialises in collective disputes and negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Lionel Aguilar

Testimonials

‘Their knowledge and experience of labour legislation is excellent. They do not just provide their opinions, but also propose solutions. They are specialist labour lawyers, which makes a big difference.’

‘It is a highly capable and academically qualified team, with good relationships with institutions and an excellent performance in corporate matters.’

‘Lionel Aguilar and Federico Zelada are dedicated to their clients and are available to deal with situations as they happen. The partners are always in close contact with us.’

‘Federico Zelada is an excellent lawyer and has good knowledge of labour and union matters.’

‘Lionel Aguilar and Federico Zelada stand out for their experience and in-depth knowledge of labour issues.’

Mayora & Mayora, S.C.

Praised for its 'broad knowledge of labour law', Mayora & Mayora, S.C. advises on immigration issues, including work and residency permits, employment contracts, terminations, disputes and labour union matters. The team has also been increasingly active advising on occupational safety matters. The practice is led by Rafael Briz and counts national and international companies among its clients. Briz is supported by experienced senior associates Suzel Obiols, immigration expert Carmen Escobar and Luis Fernando Méndez, who specialises in labour litigation.

Practice head(s):

Rafael Briz

Testimonials

‘The team’s strong points are its broad knowledge of labour law and its sense of responsibility and discipline. The team gives us a feeling of security thanks to its specialisations and sub-specialisations in every branch of the law; this is what makes the practice unique.’

‘Rafael Briz, Suzel Obiols and Carmen Escobar stand out for their professionalism, discipline, dedication and client service.’

Key clients

AC Marriott

Applus Norcontrol De Guatemala, S.A.

Elevadores Otis Of Mexico And Central America

FHI 360

GBM Guatemala, S.A.

Merck

Payless ShoeSource de Guatemala, Ltda.

Productos Roche Guatemala, S.A.

Refractarios Nacionales

Monsanto/Semillas

Work highlights

  • Providing ongoing advice on labour matters to FHI 360.
  • Providing ongoing labour advice to Payless ShoeSource de Guatemala on matters, including representing the company in labour disputes.
  • Providing ongoing advice on labour matters to GBM (an IBM Alliance company).

Valenzuela Herrera & Asociados

Boutique labour firm Valenzuela Herrera & Asociados specialises in labour regulation compliance, and regularly assists clients with day-to-day employment matters such as drafting employment contracts, developing internal policies and obtaining work permits and visas for foreign employees. It also represents clients in labour litigation and collective bargaining negotiations. Founding partner Augusto Valenzuela Herrera is the key contact.

Aguilar Castillo Love

Aguilar Castillo Love is noted for its strength in labour litigation and in representing clients in direct negotiations with employees, capabilities which were bolstered by the arrival of litigation practice head René Vicente Rodriguez in December 2018. The team also assists with day-to-day labour matters and on compliance programmes and investigations. Its clients include a number of local subsidiaries of large international corporations. Associate Luis Manuel Contreras is also recommended for labour disputes.

Practice head(s):

René Vicente Rodríguez

Key clients

Corporación Indyknit, Sociedad Anónima

Autozama

Nokia Siemens Networks S.A.

Quintiles

Solenis LLC

The Dow Chemical Company

The Nature Conservancy

Ius Laboris

Work highlights

  • Successfully advised Corporación Indyknit on negotiations with employees who had filed an action before Guatemala’s General Labour Inspectorate.
  • Advising Seaboard Marine on day-to-day labour matters, including employment agreements.

Carrillo & Asociados

Foreign companies with operations in Guatemala seek Carrillo & Asociados' assistance with recruitment strategies and labour disputes. The team also advises clients on audits, occupational safety investigations and compensation for high-level employees. Dispute resolution specialist Luis Mazariegos, who has extensive experience in contentious labour matters, leads the team. Mynor García and associate Gabriel Bran are also noted for labour litigation.

Practice head(s):

Luis Mazariegos

EY Law Central America

EY Law Central America stands out for its expertise in the labour law aspects of multi-jurisdictional M&A transactions. The team also advises employers on immigration issues for foreign employees and the negotiation of collective agreements. The practice is led by Ruby Asturias, who specialises in advising local and international companies on labour issues relating to significant transactions, and the litigation-focused Enrique Möller Sánchez.

Key clients

Huawei Telecommunications Guatemala, S.A.

Bia Foods

Bayer S.A.

Office Depot, S.A.

ThyssenKrupp Elevadores de Guatemala, S.A.

Kaeser Compresores de Guatemala y Compañía Limitada

Aliaxis – Durman Guatemala

LG Electronics Guatemala, S.A.

Ambev Guatemala

British American Tobacco

Work highlights

  • Advised Huawei Telecommunications Guatemala on immigration issues involving employees from China.