Employment in Netherlands
Allen & Overy LLP
The Allen & Overy LLP team 'works great together' and is regarded as 'a highly specialised, international-oriented, results driven group that creates added value'. Suzanne Sikkink heads the team and together with Frank Doornik is advising the Jumbo supermarkets on disputes with trades unions involving industrial action and further legal action instigated by the trades unions concerning collective labour agreements. Counsel Arnold Keizer is prized for being able to 'act and think really fast and find solutions in very difficult situations'; he handles large-scale outsourcings, work council matters and contentious cases such as whistleblowing.
BarentsKrans is 'excellent on the knowledge and capabilities' fronts and 'is always on top of developments and will inform its customers of these'. Max Keulaerds and Caroline Van Gent head the team and Rogier Duk is the highly respected senior partner who has conducted numerous cases in the Supreme Court. Laurens De Graaf is also noted; 'he always knows what questions to ask and where the sore points are'. The team handles the full range of advisory and contentious matters; it is acting for several clients in relation to union actions; works council issues and dismissal matters. Peter Vas Nunes has retired from the practice.
Stefan Sagel, Barbara Kloppert and Janneke van der Kroon are the senior partners at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Evert-Jan Henrichs is now of counsel. The team undertakes the full range of employment and labour matters and also offers pensions expertise. It acted successfully for Holland Casino in proceedings brought by its works council in reaction to a proposed restructure. It also acted for an employee who was dismissed due to reporting for work while being under the influence of alcohol; the Supreme Court rendered a decision on what amounts to seriously culpable behaviour.
Houthoff is 'top of the bill and better able to understand the needs of the customer compared to its peers'. The practice advises on the employment and pensions issues arising from complex transactions and high-stakes disputes and is noted for its Supreme Court work. Edward de Bock leads the team advising the Sligro Food Group on all of the employment and pension work that arose from its transactions with Heineken and the sale of its retail business to Jumbo and Coop. Practice co-head Rixt de Vries 'is outstanding in her performance and understanding client needs'. Other team members include Roland de Greef and senior associate Jet Stolk.
The Stibbe team 'can always deliver, even on short notice in complex matters' and offers a full, multidisciplinary service. Jaap van Slooten is highlighted for his 'great expertise on all kinds of employment matters' including litigation and labour relations issues. Paul Vestering, who provides 'spot on' advice is also 'a pleasure to work with', advises clients such as IBM and Nederlandse Spoorwegen on the whole range of contentious and advisory matters across employment, labour relations, pensions, and work council matters. Astrid Helstone is another key name. Johan Zwemmer, formerly a senior associate with the firm, DLA Piper joined as a legal director in 2019.
'Top quality and well resourced', the Van Doorne team is also highlighted for its 'thorough knowledge of cross-border jurisdictional issues'. Els de Wind is highly rated for her 'remarkable long-standing experience in handling cross-border employment matters' and her profile in the profession further 'distinguishes her and gives her an enhanced and valuable quality'. Marjolijn Lips co-heads the team with de Wind and 'trusted and valued' senior associate Cara Pronk is marked out as 'a rising professional in employment cross-border matters'. Willemien Bischot and Steven Sterk are also key team members and Albert van Marwijk Kooy continues to advise on pension issues. In addition to advising on large-scale reorganisations, it advises on high-level dismissals, works council and union issues.
Mirjam De Blécourt heads a group at Baker McKenzie that includes Remke Scheepstra and Daniëlle Pinedo and which offers the full range of employment, labour relations and pensions expertise, both domestic and cross-border. It is advising a client on all the aspects of a reorganisation involving 300 positions, including redundancies, transfers to the US and Japan and consultations with the works council and trade unions.
The 'hands-on and solution-driven' team at Loyens & Loeff 'has a can-do mentality' and 'excellent litigator' Klaas Wiersma is considered to be 'the engine behind his smoothly running team'. Other team members include senior associates Jim Margry – 'a real thoroughbred and an aggressive yet fair negotiator, with a lot M&A experience' and the 'responsive' Maureen te Poel. Hermine Voûte, who co-heads the team with Wiersma, advised the central works council of Jumbo Distributiecentrum on its negotiations with the company on an agreement regarding the employment conditions for around 3,000 supply chain employees. The practice's expertise includes tax in addition to the full range of employment, pension, and labour relations matters, especially arising from mergers and reorganisations.
Bird & Bird LLP's team head Philip Hartman is a 'brilliant lawyer with a doggish and can-do attitude'. The group is considered 'excellent – with extensive experience and a deep bench' and a 'strong footing in European works council matters and cross-border transactions'. It provides advice on the gamut of employment matters to clients such as Teva, Philip Morris, and Bureau Veritas. Partner Marcus Huisman is a key contact in the team.
As part of a global network, DLA Piper provides a strong cross-border service in addition to its domestic work. It is advising JD Sports and Sports Unlimited Retail on a class action regarding age discrimination which was filed with the Dutch Human Rights Tribunal. Team head Hélène Bogaard continues to act for easyJet following the strike actions in 2016; the client was successful in the Court in Appeal and the matter is pending at the Supreme Court. Erik Lutjens and Bas Degelink are both recognised for their pensions expertise. Legal director Johan Zwemmer was a new arrival from Stibbe in 2019.
The Eversheds Sutherland (Netherlands) B.V. practice has an impressive roster of international clients, especially those based in the US. Its expertise spans HR matters, M&A-related work and contentious cases. It advises Pentair on all its employment matters including dismissal cases, and the effects of reorganisations and works council involvements. Ingrid van Berkel in Rotterdam and Wijnand Blom in Amsterdam co-head the group. Simon Tan left the team to join Ploum.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Brechje Nollen heads the team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and is ably assisted by senior associate Desirée Kemperink. It continues to act for Heiploeg in a dispute concerning the pre-organised sale of a business in bankruptcy where trade unions claimed that under TUPE all employees became automatically employed by the buyer. The matter is under appeal. In other typical work, the team advised JP Morgan Chase on the employment and pensions aspects of the sale of its controlling interest in Schoeller Allibert in partnership with Schoeller Group to Brookfield Business Partners.
Kennedy Van der Laan is highly rated for the range of HR-related advice it can offer in addition to the handling of contentious cases, especially in the finance and tech sectors. Eva Knipschild, Chris Nekeman and Soo-Ja Schijf are the senior partners who oversee work for clients such as Unisys, VodafoneZiggo and Rabobank. It advises Microsoft on all its employment matters including co-governance issues relating to restructures and reorganisations.
The practice at Lexence 'can handle complex cases quickly and effectively' and is also valued for having 'an innovative and entrepreneurial' approach. Judith Schulp's expertise spans areas including collective and individual employment terminations, reorganisations and the removals of directors and other senior employees. Mark Keuss also has broad expertise and Frank ter Huurne assists on 'high impact, complex labour law cases'. Senior associate Esther van der Meulen also provides 'excellent support'. This substantial team serves clients including Allied Telesis International, General Electric, Henkel and SUEZ.
Practice head Homme ten Have and senior associate Gijs van Nes are the main contacts at NautaDutilh who attract clients including Municipality of Amsterdam, Pathé Theatres and Boston Consulting Group. Its work includes acting for Smallsteps in proceedings with the union on the applicability of the EU Transfer of Undertaking Directive. It also advised works councils on challenges to proposed protective measures when LeasePlan announced that a consortium was considering options to sell down its stake in LeasePlan.
What sets Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn NV apart from the pack 'is its ability to think outside the box and adjust the strategy accordingly'. Team head Ruben van Arkel and senior attorney Annette de Jong impress with their 'excellent work and critical thinking' and senior associate Femke van Herk is also noted. Aside from its extensive roster of government and public clients, it also assists corporates such as KPN, DAF Trucks and McDonald's – in the latter case it assisted the Netherlands company with adjustments to its standard contracts in light of the Working Hours Act. It assists other clients with negotiations with unions and collective labour agreements.
The 'creative' team at AKD 'aims for mitigation as against litigation'. Pieter Huys heads the team and François Defaix and Hans van Mens are other key partners. Senior associate Henrike van de Laar is highlighted for 'thinking with the client to find the most workable solution and being to-the-point'. It is acting for clients in matters such as an investigation under the Foreign Nationals (Employment) Act and in another case, is representing former employees of an international company who claimed exposure to hazardous materials. The matter also involved investigations by the authorities and the Public Prosecution Service.
Popular boutique firm Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten, member of Ius Laboris is noted for its 'very hands on and practical approach and good range of language capabilities'. Co-founders Erik Deur and Henriette Bronsgeest and partner Philippe Nabben serve clients such as 20th Century Fox, AB-InBev and Canon Europa on advisory and contentious employment disputes in addition to tax and pensions law, much of which is cross-border. In highlight work it is acting for corporate clients in disputes with works councils, and is advising international clients on all the employment and labour relations matters connected with setting up businesses in the Netherlands.
Highlighted for its 'great collaboration' abilities, Clifford Chance advises international and local clients on areas ranging from works council negotiations to board room advice, corporate restructurings, redundancies, and remunerations – many of which have cross-border complications. In one matter it advised ABN AMRO on the complex, cross-border restructuring of some of its businesses. Floris van de Bult, Wijnanda Rutten, and Sara Schermerhorn are the core team members.
CLINT | Littler
The team at CLINT | Littler can tackle the gamut of HR and employment matters including labour relations, post-merger integrations and pension matters. An impressive range of domestic and international clients are served by the team which includes Dennis Veldhuizen, Wouter Engelsman and Eric Van Dam.
Aside from the quality of service, CMS is valued for its 'presence in many European countries'. Katja van Kranenburg heads the practice and senior associate Stephanie Dekker and counsel Barbara Veldmaat are also key contacts. The team offers the gamut of employment expertise and has a focus on the impact of new technologies on workplace relations. In highlight work, the team advised a global client, following a merger, on the implications of a reorganisation which included the social plan, notifications of mass dismissals, and pensions analysis.
Dentons' 'client-oriented and knowledgeable' team is led by the 'exceptional' Eugenie Nunes who is valued for her 'pragmatic, realistic advice and for being particularly effective at resolving disputes'. Epke Spijkerman co-heads the team and senior associate Sascha Kuit are also noted team members. The scope of its work takes in the employment and labour relations issues associated with acquisitions, reorganisations and in- and outsourcing projects and HR compliance generally. Following advising KKR on its acquisition of the spreads business of Unilever, the employment team advised on all the employment issues that arose.
As part of an international network, Hogan Lovells International LLP has a focus on cross-border work for international clients which is often connected with M&A and reorganisations. It is advising Astellas regarding the employee consultation process with the works council on the proposed restructuring of some of its businesses which would involve redundancies and transfers of employees to the US and Japan. Anita de Jong is the team head and senior associate Maria Benbrahim is also recommended.
Jones Day's labour and employment team can connect with specialists in Europe and beyond through its global network, and handles the employment and labour relations matters that arise from acquisitions and reorganisations. The group has especially strong pensions expertise which is spearheaded by the 'excellent' Irene H. Vermeeren who is 'flexible, knowledgeable, and pleasant to work with'. Mariëlle Daudt and counsels Cornelien Broersma and Franck van Uden are the key members of the group which coordinated advice to Cardinal Health, following an acquisition, on a variety of labour and employment matters relevant to a number of European jurisdictions and covering employee benefits and executive hiring matters.
The Norton Rose Fulbright team tackles international restructurings, collective dismissals, and union and works council negotiations and disputes. Maartje Govaert acted for a client where an employee brought a test case on whether he should be treated as self-employed. She also acts for clients on dismissal matters. Senior associate Thomas Timmermans is also a key contact.
Osborne Clarke's partners are 'very hands-on and yet work effectively with their teams'. Cross-border restructurings, a focus on clients in the tech sectors and pensions expertise are some of its strengths and it serves a notable number of US corporates. Recent work includes advising HTC on the restructuring of its Netherlands and Belgium operations. The team designed the project, assisted on negotiations with the unions and drafted the settlement agreements. The 'smart, savvy, and practical' Jorgo Tsiris heads the practice and Marije Stiebner Bergman is highlighted for her 'very broad experience and for keeping abreast of new developments'.
Niche firm Palthe Oberman has a focus on the sports, finance, healthcare, and life sciences serving clients from corporates to not-for-profits and government entities. Leading partners Christiaan Oberman, Gieneke van Wulfften Palthe, and Marcus Draaisma cover the spectrum of employment and labour matters and is the advisor to a number of well-known corporates, often on high-profile matters involving high-level, and often instant dismissals, reorganisations, and works council negotiations.
The Ploum team 'is practical and thinks like an entrepreneur' and is considered 'very agile with high regard for integrity'. Rutger Ploum 'is entrepreneurial and has an eye for the human dimension' and together with senior associate Astrid van Toledo makes 'a leading team in quality and sheer influence'. Simon Tan, who joined the team from EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND (NETHERLANDS) B.V., now co-heads the team with Ploum. Unilever, Samsung, and Kuwait Petroleum Netherlands are some of its clients and it handles a range of matters for GEA including health safety regulations, dismissals, and non-compete disputes. Peter de Waal left to join Windt Le Grand Leeuwenburgh.
Sagiure Legal's team includes 'hands-on, pragmatic, and skilled employment litigators' and more generally, has 'excellent expertise and is focused on a high level of service'. It is also recognised for being able to 'compete with the major league firms'. Its clients range from startups to multinationals as well as groups of individual employees and the scale of its expertise provides end-to-end employment assistance. Senior partners Rachida El Johari and Madeleine Molster 'are focused, on the ball, and enjoyable to work with'. The team is involved in a potentially game-changing matter concerning the payment of 'all-in wages' rather than separate holiday pay; it is argued that this is in conflict with European and Dutch legislation.
Simmons & Simmons is highlighted for its 'thorough understanding of labour law' and 'its good balance between the legal and commercial positions'. Joris Oster's and counsel Annemarie Elenbaas's clients include Warner Bros, Palo Alto Networks, and VEON (formerly VimpelCom) and act for OranginaSchweppes on all its employment matters. The team's work spans collective and individual redundancies, investigations, restructurings, and outsourcings.
At Buren, Suzan van de Kam acted as a local counsel to Lincoln Electric in connection with the reorganization of its Nordic business which included consultation proceedings with unions and works councils and redundancies. Together with Joost Quant, she also assisted Zeeman which has some 1,300 branches in Europe, on all its employment issues including consultation proceedings with the Dutch Works Council, the establishment of a European Works Council, and a number of dismissal proceedings.
The lawyers at Höcker Advocaten all 'work to a high quality' and have 'very strong knowledge of labour law and a very strong client focus'. The team's experience spans the travel, media and IT, financial services and healthcare sectors where it provides the full range of advisory and dispute resolution expertise. Jasper van Hulst and Martyn Top, the lead lawyers in the team are advising Novolex in relation to its acquisition of Burrow Paper Packaging Operation and the issues arising in relation to compliance with collective bargain agreements and pension regulations.
HDK Advocaten attracts praise for being 'flexible and giving on the mark advice and guidance with clear business acumen' and offering 'true value for money'. Team leader Juliette Huyzer 'has the talent to fully digest a new matter immediately which allows her to provide tailor-made advice' and Michiel Koole is also highlighted for being 'very much on the ball'. The team serves large to medium corporate clients on areas such as co-determination and issues arising from reorganisations. Its client roster includes Honeywell, Qbuzz, PepsiCo, and Royal Boskalis Westminster.
The team at Heussen 'distinguishes itself by the no-nonsense culture with which cases are handled'. The group has international capabilities and a number of foreign desks. Nils E. W. van Dijkman 'gives his full attention, even on short notice, to every problem put before him'. The team acted on behalf of the shareholders of Kijkshop in a dispute related to the dismissal of the managing director which included litigation. Niels van Gelder, who has a focus on Japan-related work, advised Kobelco on the employment issues that arose from a merger.
Working with corporate, finance, and tax specialist, the group at HVG Law LLP assists clients with all employment and labour matters arising from mergers and integrations, as well as outsourcing, works council consultations, and negotiations with trade unions. Joost van Ladesteijn and associate partners Nicky ten Bokum and Huub van Osch are the key contacts who attract clients including Air France-KLM, Belkin, and Infosys. The team acted for COOP on all the employment issues arising from the proposed purchase of Emté which involved some 6,500 employees.
Liber Dock counts Merck Sharp & Dohme, G-Star Raw, Mercer and Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts on its client roster and in highlight work it assisted Credit Agricole Consumer Finance with its large-scale restructuring. This included notification to the unions under the Dutch Collective Redundancy Act, was also subject to works council advice and included a voluntary leaving scheme. Marian van Eck and Boudewijn Kanen, who are also handling a number of dismissal cases, are the key contacts.
Rutgers & Posch
The team at Rutgers & Posch 'not only give advice on the question but think further; they are immediately at the right level of detail where necessary and are also nice people to work with'. Aside from his experience, Dirk Jan Rutgers 'is direct, a good speaker, and very sharp in his formulations'. Inge de Laat is also well rated. Associate Annemarth Hiebendaal is also highlighted for her high-quality work and being able to 'put forward her opinions very well'. The team advised the TMF Group when a private equity firm agreed to sell its stake in the group, advice which involved issues of co-determination and the social plan. It also advises Works Council Vodafone Libertel, ICL Fertilizers, and the Dutch National Opera and Ballet.
Shearwaters is 'a small firm with very personalised and attentive service which is highly specialised in employment law and the nuances between local and international implications'. The team's commercial employment focus covers executive dismissals, works council consultations, collective redundancies and reorganisations. Martijn van Broeckhuijsen and Maarten Vestering co-head the group; 'both provide advice without allowing the heat of the situation to interfere with timing and decisions'. The group's clients include international law firms as well as corporates. In recent work, the practice is advising on a number of high-level dismissals including those at Grupo Netco (Netsa Investments) following the closure of the company's Amsterdam office.
Vestius is valued not only for its 'deep practice knowledge and focus on creative solutions' but also for its 'great understanding of the human factor'. The practice's client list is made up of public and private SMEs and the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Sandvik, and Max Bögl. In recent work, the team advised ANP when it was sold to Talpa Network, assisting on various negotiations including with the works council. Managing partner Bart de Vroe, Michiel van Haelst, and Bas Derhaag head up the team, while three lawyers including Henk Brat joined from LEXSIGMA Advocaten.
Else Loes Pasma and Leendert Kruidenier head the team at Wijn & Stael Advocaten N.V. and are assisted by senior associate Joyce Snijder. The practice provides a full range of expertise from collective dismissals and redundancy schemes to restrictive covenants and matters arising from the transfer of undertakings. Recent work includes advising on flexible and temporary employment contracts. Senior associate Sophie Wierenga-Heintz joined from Kneppelhout & Korthals Advocaten.
'Hands-on attention from the partners results in great service and pragmatic advice' from Workx Advocaten which also offers 'good value for money'. Marnix Ritmeester and Jochem de Roos are both recommended for their 'very high-quality work, efficiency and tailored advice' and Bas den Ridder is also a noted partner. The team acts for both employers and executive employees on matters including individual and collective dismissals, collective bargaining agreements, and reorganisations. Recent work includes acting for energy company RWE on matters including restructurings, employees dismissals, and severance packages.