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Labour and employment in Puerto Rico

Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Littler Mendelson, P.C. has cemented a strong reputation in Puerto Rico, especially among corporate clients. The team represents companies in all areas of labour and employment law, from traditional labour matters to employee benefits and commercial and business litigation before all administrative and judicial courts. Additionally, it also directs its efforts towards preventive counselling and training in order to avoid possible disputes. Anabel Rodríguez-Alonso acts as managing partner and has vast experience in discrimination and retaliation claims, unfair labour practice arbitration, government relations and collective bargaining. Carl Schuster and Rafael Aguiló-Vélez are well-regarded practitioners with considerable experience.

McConnell Valdés LLC

McConnell Valdés LLC is praised as one of the leading labour and employment practices in Puerto Rico. Its well-regarded partners include Anita Montaner-Sevillano, who leads the immigration and retail industry teams, and Miguel Rivera-Arce, who acts as chair of the labour relations practice. The teams are often seen working together, representing clients in union campaigns and elections, discrimination, wrongful termination and multiple party claims. Montaner-Sevillano focuses on employment rights counselling and litigation, especially in cases involving disability, family and medical leave and workers' compensation. Rivera-Arce is experienced in union representation, labour arbitration and collective bargaining agreement negotiations. The group is particularly active for pharmaceutical companies and hotel clients.

Practice head(s):

Anita Montaner-Sevillano; Miguel Rivera-Arce

Key clients

PPG Industries

Johnson & Johnson

Clorox Manufacturing

UTC Aerospace Systems

Coopervision Caribbean

MDF Instruments

IPR Pharmaceutical

Stryker

Lutron

Macy’s

Work highlights

  • Representing Sanofi-Aventis in a summary dismissal in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against Sanofi Aventis and Sanofi US Services in an age discrimination case.
  • Assisting Collins Aerospace after an employee filed a judicial complaint before the US District Court alleging retaliation under Title VII and the Puerto Rico Act 115‐1991, and discrimination and retaliation under USERRA.
  • Representing Rockwell Automation in a workplace harassment claim.

O'Neill & Borges

O'Neill & Borges has experienced employment law and litigation departments, which work hand in hand to assist employers in a wide range of cases, especially in relation to bargaining processes, contract administration and dispute mitigation and litigation. Other matters which the firm routinely addresses include employment discrimination, harassment and privacy cases. Yldefonso López-Morales, who is a well-known figure in the fields of hotel, retail and transportation law, leads the team. Carlos George defends employers in state, federal and arbitration proceedings, and Alberto Bayouth-Montes is a key figure in connection to cases of termination, compensation, restrictive covenants, trade secrets and confidentiality agreements.

Cancio, Nadal & Rivera

With labour and employment as a central part of its offering, Cancio, Nadal & Rivera provides full-service assistance to mid-sized and multinational companies alike. Due diligence, union matters, collective bargaining and arbitration proceedings are areas of expertise for the team, which also has a significant track record in employment litigation. Marta Rivera-Ruiz and Francisco Vargaz-López are known for their contentious practice and are sought for representation in cases connected to unjust dismissal, discrimination, wages and sexual harassment before administrative agencies as well as state and federal courts.

Casillas Santiago & Torres LLC

Casillas Santiago & Torres LLC has a flourishing non-contentious labour and employment practice, covering trade union relations, human resources management and the drafting and negotiation of labour agreements. The firm's dispute resolution department is also active in labour law matters, particularly in relation to investigations into cases of discrimination and sexual harassment. Juan Casillas-Ayala often represents clients in reorganisations, class actions, arbitration and corporate transactions.

DLA Piper Puerto Rico

Labour law is among DLA Piper Puerto Rico's areas of expertise; its strengths range from hiring, wage and hour, statutory licences and employee benefit matters to day-to-day management and employee relations. Practice head Janine Guzman stands out for her experience in matters relating to audits, visa application proceedings for immigrant workers and awareness workshops and training programmes. She also defends employers with respect to charges of alleged age and gender discrimination, defamation and wrongful termination. Senior associate Mariana Muñiz-Lara specialises in getting complex complaints dismissed by summary judgment. In 2021, the team was particularly busy assisting clients in connection to Covid-19 workplace protocols and Puerto Rico's Workplace Harassment Act.

Practice head(s):

Janine Guzman

Key clients

Zen Spa Enterprises

Antilles Cleaning Services

North Janitorial Services

ECIJA SBGB

International corporations and Fortune 100 companies are the main clients of ECIJA SBGB's 'excellent' labour and employment department, followed by local companies, non-profit organisations and institutions. Recognised attorneys Antonio García Ramírez and Jaime Sanabria Montañez, who are both seasoned trial and appellate litigators, lead the team, which stood out in a recent highlight in connection to collective bargaining negotiations. Highlighted for its 'knowledge, humility and attention to the client', the firm excels in arbitration, wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation claims as well as employee leave, disability accommodation requests and wage and hour matters.

Practice head(s):

Antonio García Ramírez; Jaime Sanabria Montañez

Testimonials

They are an excellent team. Highly oriented to client service in a fast and timely manner. The diversity of knowledge in the workplace creates an environment of trust and security in the recommendations received.

‘They offer free training on the latest job trends and are quick to answer queries. They are always available.’

‘Jaime Sanabria Montanez is a guru in the field of employment and labour law.’

The best characteristic is their ability – they are always available for their clients.’

I’d highlight their knowledge, humility and attention to the client.’

Excellent and quality work.’

Key clients

Pep Boys- Manny, Moe & Jack of P.R

Coca-Cola (Caribbean Refrescos)

Abarca Health

Kelly Services

Triple-S Management Corporation

Google

Structural Steel Works

NFEnergía

Consumers Advocates

Boys and Girls Club of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust

Oracle

Aspen Surgical

Amerijet International

Vieques Air Link

Pearle Vision Center

Aireko Construction

Ogletree Deakins

Putnam Bridge Funding

Pharmpix

TLS Marketing Services

Buena Vibra Group

Triple-S Vida

Triple-S Salud

Triple-S Advantage Solutions

Drugs Unlimited

Reinhold Jewelries

Plaza Provisions

Marina Puerto del Rey

Xperts

Asociación de Garantías de Seguros Misceláneos

Corporación de Servicios Médicos

Crowe PR

King Uniforms & Industrial Laundry

Work highlights

  • Represented employer Triple-S in the successful negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Defended Pep Boys in multiple wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination claims, obtaining favourable judgments.
  • Managing the labour and employment issues of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust Services, including consultation for all projects and litigation.

Estrella LLC

Well-known companies - including those in the wholesale and retail sectors - turn to the labour and employment department at Estrella LLC. The firm provides human resources support covering hiring, training, discipline and terminations advice, and also acts for clients in litigation before the Puerto Rico and the US courts, administrative forums and in arbitration proceedings. Practice head Yasthel González, who was promoted to partner in 2020, has considerable expertise in counselling corporate clients in areas such as harassment, reasonable accommodation and leaves of absence. Maité Medero-Benítez left the firm in March 2021.

Practice head(s):

Yasthel González

Key clients

Wal-Mart Puerto Rico

Home Depot, Puerto Rico

Copa Airlines

Puma Energy Caribe

Professional Account Management

Frances Ríos Entreprises

Calvin Landscape

YM

Electro Gate Caribbean

Forensic Building Science

Work highlights

  • Represented Home Depot and dismissed a discrimination charge after filing a position statement in a case brought by an employee.
  • Handling multiple wrongful termination claims for Wal-Mart Puerto Rico before state courts and the Department of Labour, Mediation and Adjudication Office.
  • Acting as labour and employment counsels in Puerto Rico to Home Depot, providing defence in dozens of claims of wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination.

Ferraiuoli LLC

Ferraiuoli LLC stands out for its representation of employers in administrative, judicial and mediation proceedings. The firm is regularly involved in cases concerning discriminatory dismissal, constructive dismissal, wage disparity and retaliation. On the other hand, featuring prominently among the firm's non-contentious work are reorganisations, investigations, agreements, audits and employee benefit matters. Katherine Gonzalez Valentin is the key figure at the practice and is known for her track record in healthcare, insurance and compliance. Food and retail are also notable sectors, and are focus areas for María Judith Marchand.

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Highlighted for its 'extraordinary' client service, the 'extremely professional and thorough' team at Jackson Lewis P.C. stands out as one of the few US law firms with an office in Puerto Rico offering labour and employment advice. The practice, which is led by Juan Felipe Santos, is exclusively dedicated to defending and advising employers. It covers both a traditional caseload, including wage and hour collective actions, dismissals and just cause litigation, as well as types of cases that emerged more recently in the jurisdiction, such as actions in connection to the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Santos, who acts as office managing principal and office litigation manager, is known for representing employers before federal and Puerto Rico courts, and assisting them in the establishment of operations in Puerto Rico, particularly in the retail and services industries. Of counsel Rosangela Sanfilippo Resumil joined in December 2020. Of counsel Maralyssa Álvarez-Sánchez is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Juan Felipe Santos

Testimonials

The J-L staff are extremely professional and thorough. They respond quickly and are very detailed to be able to make decisions based on the law. In my case, one of their best qualities is that they always present me with alternative scenarios “safe vs aggressive” with very clear data of possible risks and benefits so that I can determine the course of action.

My contact is Juan Felipe Santos and his interaction with us has been impeccable. We have worked from small cases of labour inquiries to lawsuits that have lasted almost a year. Some of his best qualities: he is very complete in the transmission of his thoughts and information, he presents varied scenarios and he is always available and very accessible.’

It is easy to work with them. They do not complicate matters. Everything flows.’

The Jackson Lewis Lawyers team is always available to address our concerns and provide us with the best advice in employment cases. They demonstrate vast knowledge in labour matters, unionised environments, new legislation and jurisprudence.’

Juan Felipe Santos and Maralyssa Álvarez-Sánchez provide us with an excellent service. We have developed a relationship of trust and teamwork. With their preparation and vast experience, they have provided us with the necessary advice to effectively address the issues and cases raised. We feel very grateful and fortunate to have such excellent professionals in the field of work.

They are very familiar with the applicable laws and procedures of our judicial system. They also develop strategies to attend to cases, which they implement with patience and clear direction.’

Their client service is extraordinary. They are always available and always aware of the details of each case. They work very well with their team and that of my company. Jackson Lewis’s service and the capacity of its team is far superior to what we had had previously and the results were immediately noticeable.’

Responsiveness is its best quality.’

Jiménez Graffam & Lausell

Jiménez Graffam & Lausell has a full-service labour and employment practice with a good reputation in the market. Its clients are often employers, which turn to the firm for day-to-day advice in connection to human resources, due diligence and business restructuring matters, or in contentious cases. Raquel Dulzaides focuses on bargaining agreements and is a highly regarded lawyer.

Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLP

Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLP's labour and employment department specialises in collective bargaining and arbitration proceedings, while also covering wrongful dismissal, discrimination, sexual harassment and worker compensation cases. Immigration law is another key area of expertise, and wages and hours, class actions and local regulation advice complete the offering. The sizeable team includes Jorge Peirats, who focuses on breach of contract disputes, and Oreste Ramos, who has a successful class actions practice.

Silva-Cofresí, Manzano & Padró, LLC

Boutique firm Silva-Cofresí, Manzano & Padró, LLC is well known for its labour and employment focus. The team covers the majority of the most frequent claims in Puerto Rico, including wrongful termination, collective bargaining, employee benefits, whistleblowing, discrimination, harassment and retaliation cases at the highest levels. José Silva Cofresí often takes a lead role in cases before the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. Pedro Manzano Yates and Enrique Padró-Rodríguez are known for acting as federal and state trial and appellate lawyers. Audits, arbitration and regulatory matters are also part of the firm's offering.

Usera Figueroa & Giner, P.S.C

With vast labour and employment experience, Usera Figueroa & Giner, P.S.C regularly acts for the management teams of pharmaceutical, manufacturing, communications and retail companies. The boutique firm is particularly active in civil and commercial claims. Gregory Usera, who leads the practice, balances a busy caseload, including discrimination, sexual harassment, privacy and work accident matters. Founding partners Milagros Figueroa Silva and Pedro Giner Dapena cover wrongful termination, retaliation and collective bargaining negotiations.

Adsuar Muñiz Goyco Seda & Pérez-Ochoa

Adsuar Muñiz Goyco Seda & Pérez-Ochoa's key specialisms in the labour and employment sphere include wrongful dismissal, discrimination, sexual harassment and privacy violation claims, which are handled on the employers' side. Collective bargaining is another key area for the team, which is led by Edwin Seda Fernández.

Goldman Antonetti & Córdova

Goldman Antonetti & Córdova has an active labour and employment team, which primarily focuses on employment discrimination defence and harassment cases. Occupational health and safety, and arbitration and mediation are active areas for the firm, which counts retail, manufacturing and healthcare-sector companies among its clients. Howard Pravda has headed up the team since Luis Antonetti moved to a position as of counsel.

Nolla, Palou & Casellas, LLC

Nolla, Palou & Casellas, LLC's labour and employment team offers a broad range of advice to employers, including in relation to litigation, whistleblower protection, human resources, arbitration and collective bargaining. Founding trio José Nolla-Mayoral, Juan Casellas Rodríguez and Luis Palou Balsa are the key contacts.

Reichard & Escalera

Reichard & Escalera is known for its role defending corporations in employment law matters. Employee benefits, health and safety, and preventive practices are among the most frequent matters that the firm covers, while commercial litigation, an area in which practice head Sylmarie Arizmendi stands out, is also of pivotal importance. The group is particularly active in the banking, pharmaceutical, insurance, retail and manufacturing sectors.

Sepulvado, Maldonado & Couret

Elaine Maldovado-Matias heads up Sepulvado, Maldonado & Couret's employment and benefits practice, which provides a service aimed at entrepreneurs, small companies and multinationals alike. Excelling in both human resources and employment litigation, the group also stands out for its work in cases concerning discrimination, wrongful termination and employee benefits.

Toro Colón Mullet, P.S.C.

Under the leadership of special counsel Juan Curbelo-Pizá, who has longstanding experience in the field, Toro Colón Mullet, P.S.C. stands out for its expertise in the negotiation of bargaining agreements and labour disputes, where it acts for employers. Linette Figueroa-Torres mainly focuses on harassment and discrimination cases. Human resources and companies' day-to-day operations are also part of the offering.