Labour and employment in India
Avik Biswas leads the full-scope employment practice at IndusLaw, which is regularly instructed by household-name corporates on regulatory, advisory and dispute resolution mandates. The team has strong experience with matters specific to, among others, unionised workforces, collective bargaining, contract workforces, employee benefits structuring, policy review, retrenchment and internal investigations. Recent unique contentious issues involved providing advice on alleged breaches to the Employee’ Provident Fund Act, disputes arising from C-suite terminations (including currently acting for an ex-CFO) and advising on employees’ claims to shares arising from M&A transactions. Manishi Pathak has recently been welcomed to the partnership from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, who strengthens the team’s regulatory expertise.
Avik Biswas; Lomesh Kiran Nidumuri; Manishii Pathak; Sandeep Grover
Kraft Heinz India
Metro Cash & Carry
- Receives regular instructions from Heinz Craft India, including mediation proceedings before the Deputy Labour Commissioner, providing solutions for temporary workers and unionised members and liaising with incoming and outgoing management.
- Represented resigned CFO of Infosys Rajiv Bansal in high-profile arbitration proceedings regarding suspended payments.
- Advised Shell India with amendments to the trust deed governing the Employees’ Provident Fund.
- Exclusively retained by Uber India to handle all matters relating to the client’s engagement with its drivers, including comprise deemed employment claims, disputes, unionisation, incentive structuring and contractual obligations.
- Advising Honeywell Turbo Technologies on procedure to be followed and compensation to be given to senior management employees upon termination of employment.
Khaitan & Co.
Khaitan & Co.’s labour and employment offering provides extensive experience in the fields of C-suite terminations, employee restructuring and retrenchment exercises, labour law compliance, crisis response and equity-based compensation structuring. Practice head Anshul Prakash and team recently advised a number of employers on trade union disputes and internal misconduct investigations. Abhimanyu Pal is the team’s stand-out senior associate, who regularly advises on staff training and handbook drafting and employment agreements. Routine advice on the employment aspects of large-scale corporate transactions is also provided.
Palo Alto Networks
Lam Research Corporation
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail
Tata Global Beverages Limited (Formerly Tata Tea Limited)
Housing Development Finance Corporation
- Assisted Housing Development Finance Corporation with the full range of employment and labour issues such as reviewing and drafting employment policies, employment and consultancy agreements, code of conduct and full and final settlement letters.
- Advised Conduent on all aspects of the transfer of employees arising from the transfer of its HR services business to a new entity that was formed and subsequently sold.
- Advising Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail on the structuring of employee salaries, minimum wages and provident funds across various states including Delhi, West Bengal and Kerala.
- Defending Merck in the Supreme Court in a special leave petition filed by an ex-employee for recovery of alleged outstanding terminal dues.
Multinational corporations comprise the majority of Kochhar & Co.’s labour and employment practice, for which the team handles high-profile disputes, terminations and restructuring exercises. Recent non-contentious trends saw the firm advising on trade union negotiations, workforce reduction exercises and employee transfer programmes resulting from corporate restructurings. Debjani Aich routinely advises on compliance with prevention of sexual harassment legislation, internal policy reform and general advice on regulatory developments is also provided. Practice co-chair Vijay Ravi assists employers facing misconduct allegations, internal investigations and wrongful termination claims.
Rohit Kochhar; Vijay Ravi
Other key lawyers:
‘Vijay Ravi is responsive, very clear and reliable.‘
‘Provides great response times and closure.‘
Standard & Poor’s Global
Willis Towers Watson
The University of British Columbia
Tenneco Automotive India
Henkel Adhesive Technologies India
- Preferred employment counsel to S&P Global, assisting with various employment contracts including day care services agreements, settlement agreements and employment policies. Also handles contentious and sensitive employee termination matters, recently in regards to separation as a result of police investigations.
- Retained by OnePlus China to conduct a comprehensive pan-Indian due diligence to ensure employment law compliance.
Nishith Desai Associates
Key fields of expertise for Nishith Desai Associates’s labour and employment practice (which is headed by leading industry figure Vikram Schroff) include full-service employment strategy for market-entry clients, large-scale downsizing mandates, M&A transactional assistance, regulatory compliance advice and ESOP structuring. Employment litigation and internal investigations are also handled. Some of the world’s largest multinational corporates are included on the firm's client roster.
Newly promoted to the head of Trilegal’s market-leading labour and employment practice, Atul Gupta brings a wealth of expertise to large-scale retrenchment and C-suite level termination exercises, outsourcing arrangements, M&A — including a recent complex tripartite merger — transactions, benefit structuring and employee relocation mandates. The team regularly handles tribunal disputes and internal investigations concerning confidentiality breaches, sexual misconduct allegations (including against senior level employees) and breaches of restrictive covenant. Swarnima is a leading voice on the post-#MeToo era of prevention of sexual harassment and maternity benefits law, regularly conducting training sessions for employers across the country. Negotiating with unionised workforces such as in the manufacturing sector is another strong point for the practice.
Atul Gupta; Swarnima
LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton Group
- Assisting Bytedance in establishing its operations in India from an HR and employment law standpoint.
- Assisting McKinsey & Company with assesing the client’s existing practices on engagement of certain third-party personnel at its premises and the application of Indian contract labour law.
- Advising on complex sector-specific HR and employment issues of Bank of Baroda’s tripartite merger with Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank.
- Prepared a comprehensive roadmap to assist Pfizer in its proposal to set up an organisational ombudsman.
- Advised Accenture on the impact of the latest minimum wage notification issued by the Karnataka Government.
Aliff Fazelbhoy leads the labour and employment practice at ALMT Legal; he and associate Ahetesham Thaver are acknowledged for providing 'high-quality' legal advice across the spectrum of relevant issues. Recent instructions involved advising international corporate clients on the changing regulatory landscape in India concerning working hours and flexible working conditions, prevention of sexual harassment, conciliation proceedings and maternity leave. The team handled a number of large-scale retrenchment and termination exercises and advised on employee contract and handbook drafting, ESOPs, internal dispute procedures and immigration law.
Other key lawyers:
‘Gives good and thorough information regarding labour law and employment matters.‘
‘Aliff Fazelbhoy and Ahetesham Thaver are both very professional and understanding of client’s needs.‘
AZB & Partners fields a team of dedicated employment experts who handle the breadth of mandates for a solid list on multinational clients. Significant recent instructions involved complex compensation restructurings, termination exercises (including within unionised sectors), formulating and revising large-scale regulatory compliance regimes and misconduct and HR policy review. Partners such as Nohid Nooreyezdan and Sunila Awasthi provide general advice concerning the rapidly changing regulatory framework as well as conducting internal investigations well misconduct and sexual harassment allegations arise. The firm also advises on data privacy compliance.
Nohid Nooreyezdan; Sunila Awasthi; Rachit Bahl
Amazon Seller Services
Caring with Colour – A Manasi Kirloskar Initiative
Agence Française De Développement
TrustLaw – Thomson Reuters Foundation
- Advised a large e-commerce company on various employment law issues including compensation restructuring, maternity benefit compliance and preparing for hearings in defence proceedings.
- Advised a multinational bank of number employment issues including retrenchment, unit closures and unique labour regulations in the banking industry.
- Assisted a European technology company with manufacturing operations in India with investigations into unethical practices and potential disciplinary actions including terminations.
- Formulated the labour and employment compliance framework for education non-profit Caring with Colour. Specifics included policies for the prevention of sexual harassment and child sexual offenses, the provision of disability and maternity benefit and misconduct guidelines.
- Advised a leading mass media company on compliance with Indian employment laws including in regards to social security, working hours, terminations and exit strategy.
J Sagar Associates
J Sagar Associates has a strong regulatory aspect to it labour and employment practice, regularly designing and maintaining compliance programmes and handling subsequent investigations concerning allegations of employee misconduct. The firm’s strong corporate practice sees the team advising on large-scale employee transfer exercises and other aspects of corporate acquisitions and business restructurings. Other cited fields of expertise include legal compliant background checks, boardroom disputes and trade union negotiations.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices
Mercer Consulting India
- Advised Mercer Consulting India on the employment aspects of its acquisition of Induslynk Training Services.
- Advised a semiconductor and software solutions company on an employee transfer exercise due from an acquired company.
- Assisted a research and advisory company with a series of internal investigations into allegations of employee misconduct.
- Assisted an online marketplace and hospitality service provider with formulating and adopting harassment and anti-discrimination policies.
- Assisted an industrial weighing equipment company with an investigation into sexual misconduct by senior directors.
L&L Partners Law Offices advises on the full range of labour and employment matters including litigation, regulatory support, transactional support and HR policy drafting.
Majmudar & Partners
Majmudar & Partners has a strong hand in advising corporate clients on acquihire transactions and the associated termination, retrenchment and employee transfer exercises. Further advisory mandates for practice heads N. Raja Sujith and Neerav Merchant include reviewing and implementing internal regulatory compliance policy (in regards to the Disability Act, prevention of sexual harassment and maternity benefit statutes), drafting non-compete and non-solicitation agreements and advising on minimum pay requirements. The client roster comprises international financial institutions, manufacturers and technology companies.
Neerav Merchant; N. Raja Sujith
‘A very pragmatic approach with excellent business orientation and subject knowledge.‘
‘N. Raja Sujith applies his knowledge in a most appreciable way to help in-house counsels guide the business in the right direction.‘
1FB Support Services
Tyco Fire and Security India Private Limited (Now a part of Johnson Controls Group)
Gallagher Service Center
Altran Technologies India
GSE Lining Technology
- Advising MBB Lads (a subsidiary of Maybank) on the review and finalisation of its employment handbook, offer letter, and employment agreement. Also advised on issues pertaining to transfer of employees, resignation and appointments.
- Advising 1FB Support Services on termination of employees resulting from an attempt to move confidential company information.
- Advised Tyco Fire and Security India on the transfer of employees arising from a corporate merger.
- Advised Gallup on Indian employment issues, particularly the retrenchment of staff in its Indian subsidiary.
- Advised Gallagher Service Center on mandatory compliance for disabled employees under Indian employment laws.
The labour and employment team at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co works closely with the firm’s tax professionals to assist multinational clients with their employment structures, M&A transactions, and employee benefits. Other advisory instructions sees team head Pooja Ramchandani assisting with regulatory compliance (pertaining to the likes of minimum wage, age of retirement and working age restrictions), internal investigations, retrenchment and employee transfers. Additional to the advisory support, the practice also recently provided defence strategy for allegations of wrongful termination.
‘Their in-depth understanding of our business and relevant, tailored legal advice. They are our preferred “go-to” firm for these reasons.’
‘Pooja Ramchandani, Kriti Kaushik and their team are extremely receptive and responsive to our needs. They are easily approachable and make themselves available whenever required. Their research and advice is in-depth and contextual.’
Bharucha & Partners
Recent advisory mandates for Bharucha & Partners’ labour and employment practice included a significant number of issues concerning senior employment strategy, employee benefit structuring (including ESOPs), sexual harassment policy compliance and retrenchment exercises. Further complex instructions included a large-scale policy review resultant from handling senior level misconduct complaints. On the team’s growing contentious side, recent instructions involved responding to allegations of non-compete clause breaches.
MP Bharucha; Justin Bharucha
India Tourism Development Corporation
DJO Global India Healthcare
Shopsense Retail Technologies
- Advised Speedcast on the senior employment strategy for its operations in India.
- Advised Tianu Furniture on applicable contract labour employment laws.
- Manages all employment-related documentation for the Relevant e-Solutions, including its ESOP Scheme.
- Assisted Alchem with handling a complaint of sexual harassment against one of its senior officers.
- Advised Balaji Telefilms with trade union negotiations including service conditions, wages and other perks.
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Rashmi Pradeep and associate Bishen Jeswant of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ labour and employment practice received client praise for handling large-scale restructuring programmes resulting from acquisitions and divestments. Internal policy review, general regulatory advice, C-suite level terminations and contractual drafting (including employee benefit plans) for market-entry clients are others fields of expertise. Recent contentious work involved data privacy disputes and defending misconduct allegations. The client list comprises a diverse range of multinationals in sectors such as financial services, aviation, manufacturing and IT. Manishi Pathak is now at IndusLaw.
‘Provides very user-friendly employment law support.’
‘Abe Abraham has a good understanding of industry practices.’
‘Rashmi Pradeep and Bishen Jeswant’s expertise and experience with employment and labour laws stands out from the others. They ensure that their advice and input is very practical instead of providing theoretical answers.’
Procter & Gamble
The Boston Consulting Group
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
ExxonMobil Services & Technology
Thomson Reuters India
Aliaxis Group S.A.
Pfizer Healthcare India
Mahanagar Gas Limited
Bank of Baroda
- Advising ExxonMobil Services & Technology on relation to compliance with the recently amended Maternity Benefit Act.
- Instructed by Air India to conduct a review of the regulatory framework governing its 6000+ employees in light of a proposed strategic divestment.
- Represented People Interactive in a matter concerning the misappropriation of confidential information by an employee.
- Advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the operation of its LGBT Pride Ally Programme for its LGBT employees.
- Advising the Boston Consulting Group on numerous employment matters such as maternity benefit, compliance with sexual harassment laws and terminations.
Recent mandates for HSA Advocates’ labour and employment team involved handling in-depth employee contract, HR and ESOP policy reviews to ensure compliance with minimum wage, gender equality and other developing regulations. International clients often instruct the team to handle employee transfer exercises. Professionals such as Jivesh Chandrayan and Soumya Kanti De Mallik also cite experience with providing HR advice in the unionised industries.
Bharat Sharma; Gaurav Sahay; Jivesh Chandrayan; Soumya Kanti De Mallik; Ramya Hariharan
‘HSA Advocates is an excellent law firm which provides very clear legal opinions.’
‘Jivesh Chandrayan has great knowledge and competence with court situations and risk assessment.’
Terma A/S Denmark and Terma (India) Private Limited
Faith Health Care Private Limited
INFOBIP – Infobip India Private Limited and BSMART India Private Limited
Avantor Performance Materials India
HH Global: Procurement and Creative Production Solutions
SREI Infrastructure Finance
Acme Solar Holding India
- Assisted Avantor Performance Materials India with reviewing employment contracts, ESOP policy, senior employee remuneration terms and various other HR policies.
- Advised Acme Solar Holdings on the modification of its ESOP scheme.
- Advised Walsons Services on compliance with the Minimum Wage Act.
- Established the HR and employment policies for aerospace company Terma.
- Advised on a group transfer of employees from Infobip India to a new entity as par of an asset transfer.
The labour and employment practice at Phoenix Legal offers advisory services pertaining to policy audits, restructuring, internal investigations, regulatory compliance and the drafting and reviewing of employment contracts. The firm's corporate lawyers — including Manjula Chawla and Saket Shukla — advise on retrenchment exercises and other resultant employment issues arising from M&A transactions. Assistance with responding to misconduct allegations is also provided.
Manjula Chawla; Saket Shukla; Abhishek Saxena; Sawant Singh
‘The team is highly professional and always maintains timeliness in its responses.‘
‘The team has a high quality of in-depth knowledge and gives good insight to relevant case laws.‘
‘Sawant Singh is always at hand to provide the client with quality and practical solutions He has a very pleasant interactive style which is a big positive.‘
- Advised Paypal India on conditions of employment for female night shift workers in respect to recent changes to the Shops and Establishments Act.
- Advised Deutsche Bank on the employment and labour law issues resulting from the client’s $170bn global sale to Apex Group.
- Assisted Volaris Group with the transfer of employees into the group from the newly acquired video business entity of Nokia.
- Assisting Penumbra with the structuring of employment and consultancy arrangements for the client’s entry into the Indian market.
- Retained by Groupon to provide a range of employment advice such as work agreements, overtime policy, POSH compliance and immigration issues.
Contentious employment mandates at Samvad Partners are handled by practice co-head Poornima Hatti, with recent instructions involving stock option disputes, employee benefit pay-outs, fraud allegations, unfair termination disputes and breach of contract matters. The firm provides advice on senior exits, legislative developments, internal investigations and prevention of sexual harassment compliance. Commercial partner Ashwini Vittalachar is the go-to name for transactional advice. The client base comprises startups and established corporates in sectors spanning tech, software, consumer goods and financial services.
Ashwini Vittalachar; Poornima Hatti
‘Each partner is specialised in specific areas which helps in getting the best solutions.‘
‘A specialised and motivated team who can perform and deliver within a strict timeline.‘
‘Poornima Hatti is hard working, sharp, and self motivated.‘
‘Arjun Krishnan is hard working and dedicated.‘
‘A highly active team which always provides proper guidance.‘
Dell International Services India
Eastern Engineering Company
Global Consumer Products
GRNRM Talent Network
JP Morgan India
Manthan Software Services
MTS Systems Corporation
Red Brick Lane Marketing Solutions
Ruptub Solutions (Treebo Hotels)
Stryker Global Technology Centre
Third Bridge India/Third Bridge UK
Xiaomi Technology India
- Advised TerraBlue Exploration Technologies in connection with a series of disputes between the founders and the senior management. The matter concerned the vesting of employee stock options, separation terms as well as enforcement of a non-compete clause in their contracts with the company.
Singhania & Partners LLP has a strong employment advisory and regulatory offering which encompasses workforce retrenchment and restructuring, C-suite level terminations, internal investigations, HR policy review, corporate transactional assistance and designing and implementing sexual harassment policy and training programmes. Recent contentious issues involved defending allegations of illegal dismissal and initiating proceedings alleging sexual and professional misconduct.
Ravi Singhania; Shilpa Shah; Vikas Goel; Rudra Srivastava
‘Singhania & Partners has deep local knowledge.‘
‘Very responsive and very knowledgeable.‘
Standard & Poor’s Global
Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence
Semtech Advanced Systems India
American Bureau of Shipping
ValueMomentum Software Services
Kelly Service India
Resort Condominium International
- Assisted Standard & Poor’s Global with the full suit of employment mandates such as retrenchment, HR policy implementation, secondments, disciplinary proceedings and training under prevention of sexual harassment laws.
- Assisted the American Bureau of Shipping with setting up and then updating its human resource policies, including payment of gratuity policy, prevention of sexual harassment policy and drafting of the employee handbook.
- Provides complete employment law advice to Value Momentum Software Services including termination of employees, on-boarding of employees, setting-up and vetting of HR policies and representing the client before the labour authorities.
- Assisted GSE Systems with the closure of its India office, implementing severance packages and the submission of closure intimations to the relevant labour authorities.
- Conducted training sessions at Thrymr Software for its employees on complying with sexual harassment laws.
Wrongful termination disputes and business restructuring exercises are routine instructions for the labour and employment offering at Chadha & Co. The firm also provides advice on legislative changes pertaining to the prevention of sexual harassment and contractual workerforces.
Routine mandates for Dua Associates’ labour and employment practice include employee termination exercises, ESOP planning, benefits structuring and regulatory compliance advice.
LexCounsel advises the firm’s corporate clients on applicable labour and employment regulations for India-based operations, as well as providing support on retrenchment exercises, contract and handbook review and the employment aspects of corporate transactions.
- Providing full-scope labour policy advice to CPA Global India.
- Advising publisher Fladgate on a large-scale redundancy process.
- Assisting World Learning India with reviewing its employee and consultant contracts and the likely impact of legislative changes.
- Assisting Fleishman Hillard with senior separation agree ments.
- Advising Macmillan Publishers India on various State-specific labour law requirements.
Link Legal - India Law Services has a solid list of domestic clients who routinely instruct the labour and employment team. Mandates range from workforce structuring, contract drafting and immigration advice to senior terminations, internal investigations and disputes concerning payment and breaches of contract.
Mani Chengappa & Mathur
Bangalore-based firm Mani Chengappa & Mathur is regularly instructed by tech-sector clients to assist with the full range of advisory matters such as C-suite terminations, prevention of sexual harassment compliance, retrenchment, policy drafting, employee benefits and general regulatory advice. Name partner Utham Chengappa also advises on internal complaints procedures. The client list also includes an increasing amount of names from other sectors such as hospitality and consumer goods.
Utham Chengappa; Neil Mathur
Brightsword IT services
- Assisted Brightsword Technologies with drafting employment agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements and employment policies in line with business and operational requirements.
Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co Advocates, Solicitors and Notary
Manilal Kher Ambalal & Co Advocates, Solicitors and Notary’s market-leading dispute resolution team handles significant labour and employment cases as they arise, with recent instructions involving wrongful terminations and Employee Provident Fund payments.
Singh & Associates Founder – Manoj K Singh Advocates and Solicitors recently advised a number of international clients with their secondment matters for employees deployed to foreign jurisdictions and for foreign employees entering the Indian workforce. The team also handles HR policy and employment contract drafting exercises for a number of domestic clients.
Gunita Pahwa; Daizy Chawla
Russula Corporation SA and Russula Automation and Engineering Solutions
Lakhmi Chand Charitable Society
Era Infra Engineering
Training and Educational Centre for Hearing Impaired
ZTE Telecom India
Rachna Sagar Publications
- Assistd Russula Automation and Engineering with preparing its deputation policy for the secondment of employees.
- Assisted ZTE Telecom Private with the secondment of foreign employees.
- Assisted Rachna Sagar Publications with drafting HR policies, employment agreements and other labour contracts.