Labour and employment in Puerto Rico

Littler Mendelson, P.C.

Littler Mendelson, P.C.'s office in San Juan is now what was previously Schuster Aguiló LLC. Since the merger, the firm's focus has remained on litigation before Puerto Rican courts, federal courts and administrative forums in cases of wrongful termination, discrimination and worker compensation. Managing member Anabel Rodríguez-Alonso has substantial experience in collective bargaining strategy and agreement administration as well as union mediation. The team that she leads was founded by capital members of the firm Rafael Aguiló-Vélez and Carl Schuster, both of whom have longstanding experience in the market.

Practice head(s):

Anabel Rodríguez-Alonso

McConnell Valdés LLC

Advising on union relations, handling class action and multi-party cases, and negotiating collective bargaining agreements are a few of the key competencies that the well-established labour and employment team at McConnell Valdés LLC showcases. Chair Anita Montaner-Sevillano is the leader of the immigration practice team and represents employers in matters of business immigration, disability, family and medical leave as well as compensation, wrongful dismissal and discrimination. Miguel Rivera-Arce additionally covers retaliation, sexual harassment, violation of constitutional rights and defamation cases. Counsel Alfredo Hopgood-Jovet is a recognised practitioner and focuses on M&A and arbitration. Past standout cases for the team included its representation of a client in a $650m civil action concerning claims of age discrimination, wrongful termination and unpaid salaries; the case involved numerous and complex e-discovery issues.

O'Neill & Borges

At O'Neill & Borges, the experienced employment law and litigation departments are aimed at assisting employers in bargaining processes, contract administration, dispute mitigation and, if unavoidable, litigation. The latter includes employment discrimination, harassment and privacy cases. Yldefonso López-Morales is well recognised in the hotel, retail, security and transportation industries, often representing companies in these sectors before the National Labor Relations Board. He co-ordinates the team, which also includes prominent lawyers Carlos George, who defends employers in state, federal and arbitration proceedings, and Alberto Bayouth-Montes, who focuses on terminations, compensation, restrictive covenants, trade secrets and confidentiality agreements.

Practice head(s):

Yldefonso López-Morales

Silva-Cofresí, Manzano & Padró, LLC

Mid-sized boutique Silva-Cofresí, Manzano & Padró, LLC has a comprehensive employment and labour law practice, covering wrongful termination, collective bargaining, employee benefits, whistleblowing, discrimination, harassment and retaliation matters. The three-partner, eight-lawyer team is involved in precedent-setting cases, such as one before the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico involving the definition of "professional" under Puerto Rico's Minimum Wage Act, in which José Silva Cofresí took a lead role. Federal and state trial and appellate lawyers Pedro Manzano Yates and Enrique Padró-Rodríguez complete the team at partner level. The group also provides advice on audits, arbitration and regulatory matters.

Cancio, Nadal, Rivera & Diaz

Labour and employment law is an area of notable expertise at Cancio, Nadal, Rivera & Diaz. The team provides comprehensive assistance and representation to employers, with a particular emphasis on mid-sized and multinational companies. Its work includes due diligence, union matters, collective bargaining and arbitration proceedings in both the public and private sectors. Trial attorneys such as non-equity partners Francisco Vargaz-López and Marta Rivera-Ruiz are highly skilled in litigation concerning unjust dismissal, discrimination, wages and sexual harassment cases before administrative agencies and state and federal courts.

Casillas Santiago & Torres LLC

Alongside a non-contentious practice covering trade union relations, human resources management and the drafting and negotiation of labour agreements, Casillas Santiago & Torres LLC also maintains an employment dispute resolution practice and conducts investigations into cases of discrimination and sexual harassment. Juan Casillas-Ayala's experience, originally accrued at Fiddler, González & Rodríguez, has allowed him to litigate cases pertaining to reorganisations, class actions, arbitration and corporate transactions.

Practice head(s):

Juan Casillas-Ayala

DLA Piper Puerto Rico

Since 2018, DLA Piper Puerto Rico has been developing its labour and employment group in San Juan, which now includes practice head Janine Guzman and senior associate Mariana Muñiz-Lara. Working closely with the dispute resolution practice, the team represent clients in front of local courts and also assists them in international cases deriving from other offices in the broad DLA network. Recently, the lawyers have handled cases of discrimination, constructive and wrongful dismissal, and internal company investigations.

Practice head(s):

Janine Guzman

ECIJA SBGB

ECIJA SBGB‘s labour and employment practice distinguishes itself for its 'excellent knowledge, experience, capacity and availability' and for the attention it devotes to new technologies and innovative solutions. This is particularly appreciated by businesses, employers and employees which instruct the firm in complex termination, discrimination and retaliation cases. The team also handles disability, wage and hour matters and internal investigations. Founding member and co-head Antonio García Ramírez takes the lead role on many matters. Chicago-based co-head Jaime Sanabria Montañez is highlighted for his 'connections and local knowledge of Puerto Rico'. The team expanded in 2019 with the additions of Charles Dale, who is in charge of cases in the healthcare, insurance and professional services sectors, while Anfranz Vázquez Bragan was promoted to partner in August 2020.

Testimonials

‘The lawyers are highly responsive, knowledgeable of the legal matters and offer advice with consideration to costs and benefits. They are professionals of the first order, respected in the community, and they understand the organizational culture of the company they work for. They really are like partners in your business.’

‘Excellent knowledge, experience, capacity and availability.’

‘The team offers innovative solutions to unique Puerto Rico specific problems. Collectively, the team is very knowledgeable in PR law and is very well connected with the key players at the local agencies. The team is available around the clock and their collaboration feels like they are in-house.’

‘Jaime Sanabria is one of the hardest working attorneys one can have the privilege of working with. Jaime does not rest until your concerns are answered. Jaime’s connections and local knowledge of Puerto Rico make him a truly valuable asset.’

Key clients

Pep Boys

Google, Inc. 2020

Coca-Cola (Caribbean Refrescos, Inc.)

Abarca Health

Ogletree Deakins

Kelly Services, Inc.

MAPEI, Inc.

Triple-S Management Corporation

Triple-S Salud, Inc.

Triple-S Advantage Solutions, Inc.

Triple-S Vida, Inc.

Structural Steel Works, Inc.

Structural Steel Manufacturing

Gerdau Metaldom

SNC Technical Services, Inc.

PharmPix, LLC

MC-21

NFEnergía LLC (New Fortress Energy)

TLS Marketing Services, Inc.

Consumers Advocates (Ad Practitioners LLC)

Putnam Bridge Funding

Syvos Puerto Rico, Inc.

Aireko Construction LLC

Aireko Energy Solution LLC

Corporación de Servicios Médicos

Ikebana Bar & Grill Restaurants

Centro para la Nueva Economía (CNE)

Asociación de Garantías de Seguros Misceláneos

Boys and Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust

Paralell 18

Plaza Provisions

Reinhold Jewelries

Combe, Inc.

Drugs Unlimited, Inc.

Marina Puerto del Rey, Inc.

Weisbrod Matteis & Copley

Vigilantes, Inc.

Oracle

Aspen Surgical

Amerijet International, Inc.

Pearle Vision

Vieques Air Link

Aerojet

King Uniforms and Industrial Laundry, Inc.

Wurth Timberline Fasteners, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Defended Construcción Carso de Puerto Rico, LLC against an unfair dismissal claim from several independent contractors.
  • Defended Kelly Services, Inc. against a wrongful termination claim under P.R. Act 80, retaliation under P.R. Act 115, and interference of rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and P.R. Act 139.
  • Defended Target Marketing Services in claims for alleged wrongful termination.

Estrella LLC

Counting major, multinational companies in its client portfolio, Estrella LLC is noted for its expertise in human resources and policies, which it combines with capabilities in dispute resolution, administrative law and arbitration. Practice heads Maité Medero-Benítez and Yasthel González are experienced trial attorneys who represent retail companies in commercial and tort cases at the local and federal level. The team regularly advises on cases of sexual harassment and wrongful termination, and also assists with the drafting of employment handbooks, policies and contracts. Odemaris Chacón Varona is a well-regarded lawyer in the team.

Key clients

Home Depot, Puerto Rico, Inc.

Wal-Mart Puerto Rico, Inc.

Puma Energy Caribe, LLC.

Copa Airlines

Navient

Electro Gate Caribbean, Inc.

Calving Landscaping

YM INC. (Sales Puerto Rico)

Forensic Building Science, Inc.

Frances Rios Entreprises

Work highlights

  • Providing defence to Home Depot, Puerto Rico in claims of wrongful termination, retaliation, discrimination and disability before administrative agencies, federal agencies, and state courts.
  • Handled multiple wrongful termination claims for Wal-Mart Puerto Rico, in the State Court and Department of Labour, Mediation and Adjudication Office.
  • Drafted an employment handbook for a national outsourcing costumer services company in Puerto Rico.

Ferraiuoli LLC

The labour and employment team at Ferraiuoli LLC represents employers in administrative, judicial and mediation cases regarding discriminatory dismissal, constructive discharge, wage disparity and retaliation. The team also offers expertise in alternative dispute resolution methods (including mediation and prevention) and provides non-contentious counselling on reorganisations, investigations, agreements, audits and employee benefits. In 2019, leading attorney Katherine Gonzalez Valentin won a large, strategic healthcare insurance trial for MMM Healthcare, where she was able to draw on her expertise in contract law and Medicare compliance. The firm also excels in other areas, such as food and retail, where María Judith Marchand makes a substantial contribution.

Key clients

Puerto Rico Housing Finance Authority

Kimsi & Associates

Caribbean Produce

Now 579 and Beyond, Inc. D/B/A Rainbow, Marianne and 579

Alchemy Park

Aldo U.S. Inc.

Subway Island Development

Kevane Grant Thornton

Abbot Labouratories

Abbvie, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Assisted Avantor (a global manufacturer and distributor in the life sciences industry) to obtain a favourable ruling for exemption from registration of its Employee Stock Purchase Plan under the Puerto Rico Uniform Securities Act.
  • Assisted Alight Solutions in setting up a new defined contribution retirement plan for over 110,000 employees of the government of Puerto Rico.
  • Represented health insurance company MMM Holdings in an age discrimination, retaliation and wrongful termination case, achieving summary judgment in the client’s favour, confirmed by the US Court of Appeals.

Jiménez Graffam & Lausell

The well-regarded, full-service labour and employment group at Jiménez Graffam & Lausell is a go-to practice for employers seeking counselling on all aspects of human resources, due diligence and business restructuring. On top of its non-contentious practice, the firm also has ADR and dispute prevention capabilities, in addition to its strong litigation offering. Raquel Dulzaides, an expert in bargaining agreements, is a well-known practitioner in the market.

Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLP

Pietrantoni Méndez & Alvarez LLP's employment department stands out for its knowledge of wrongful dismissal, discrimination, sexual harassment and worker compensation cases. Specialising in collective bargaining and arbitration proceedings, the practice is also known for its expertise in broader employment issues, including wages and hours, class actions and local regulation. Immigration law is another key area of expertise. Among the many  litigators in the team are Jorge Peirats, who often represents clients in breach of contract disputes, and class actions expert Oreste Ramos.

Usera Figueroa & Giner, P.S.C

The management teams of pharmaceutical, manufacturing, communications and retail companies turn to boutique firm Usera Figueroa & Giner, P.S.C for labour and employment advice and representation in civil and commercial claims. Gregory Usera acts in discrimination, sexual harassment, privacy and work accident claims. The team also includes founding members Milagros Figueroa Silva and Pedro Giner Dapena as well as five other lawyers, who collectively cover wrongful termination, retaliation and collective bargain negotiations. All members of the team litigate at trial and appellate levels and before administrative agencies.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Usera

Adsuar Muñiz Goyco Seda & Pérez-Ochoa

Adsuar Muñiz Goyco Seda & Pérez-Ochoa provides a broad labour and employment law service. Key areas of work include defending employers before government agencies in wrongful dismissal, discrimination, sexual harassment and privacy violation claims; and the negotiation, drafting and management of collective bargaining. Leading the team is Edwin Seda Fernández, whose vast experience in this field is a driving force.

Practice head(s):

Edwin Seda Fernández

Goldman Antonetti & Córdova

Goldman Antonetti & Córdova is very active in labour and employment law, acting both as counsel and litigator for retail, manufacturing, services and healthcare companies. On the contentious side, the department focuses on employment discrimination defence and harassment cases. Howard Pravda leads the team, which also benefits from the expertise of former group leader Luis Antonetti, now acting as of counsel, in matters of occupational health and safety, arbitration and mediation.

Jackson Lewis P.C.

Jackson Lewis P.C. distinguishes itself for its involvement in litigation, especially in labour and employment-related matters, originating both from Puerto Rico and US-based clients. Juan Felipe Santos and his team are actively involved in wage, discrimination, tort and defamation cases in relation to individual claims, as well as collective and class actions. The team also has a good track record in non-contentious matters, including human resources and due diligence.

Practice head(s):

Juan Felipe Santos

Nolla, Palou & Casellas, LLC

Since its foundation in 2006, Nolla, Palou & Casellas, LLC has developed a significant track record in labour and employment cases. Covering all aspects of this field of law, the team provides employers with comprehensive advice on matters of employment litigation, whistleblower protection, human resources, arbitration and collective bargaining. Such a broad offering is guaranteed by the combined expertise of founding trio José Nolla-MayoralJuan Casellas Rodríguez and Luis Palou Balsa.

Reichard & Escalera

Reichard & Escalera is well known for defending corporations in employment law matters. The practice spans employee benefits, health and safety and preventive practices, and is led by Sylmarie Arizmendi, who is also vice-chair of the commercial litigation practice. A substantial proportion of the firm's clients operate in the banking, pharmaceutical, insurance, retail and manufacturing sectors.

Practice head(s):

Sylmarie Arizmendi

Sepulvado, Maldonado & Couret

Sepulvado, Maldonado & Couret's employment and benefits team provides advice on all aspects of human resources and employment litigation. Targeted at entrepreneurs and small companies as well as multinationals, the group's offering includes discrimination, wrongful termination, arbitration and employee benefits. Elaine Maldovado-Matias is the practice head.

Practice head(s):

Elaine Maldovado-Matias

Toro Colón Mullet, P.S.C.

Counsel Juan Curbelo-Pizá chairs Toro Colón Mullet, P.S.C.'s labour and employment group; he has a well-established reputation and experience in the negotiation of bargaining agreements and the handling of labour disputes at local and federal level. Principal Linette Figueroa-Torres takes on cases of harassment and discrimination, among others, while senior associate Wilfredo Soto-Suárez provides both representation and advice connected to human resources and companies' day-to-day operations.

Practice head(s):

Juan Curbelo-Pizá