Employment in Spain
Baker McKenzie is known for handling multi-jurisdictional employment work, with notable specialisms in the healthcare, technology and retail industries. The firm has particular experience assisting Spanish companies with cross-border issues and expansions. The team is led by union negotiations expert David Diaz and Mireia Sabaté, who specialises in employment relationships and collective terminations. Also notable is Fermín Guardiola, who focuses on collective labour negotiations and litigation. Key clients include Accenture, Amazon, Burberry and AstraZeneca Farmacéutica. In a recent highlight for the practice, it acted for Pepsico in the collective redundancy process to close its manufacturing facility in Mallorca. The department also advised Valeo Climatización on the transfer of an office from Barcelona to Zaragoza, which involved the closure of a work centre and transfer of a large number of employees.
Rosa Zarza leads the department at J&A Garrigues SLP, which can call on the experienced Vicente Calle, Rafael Ortiz and counsel Eva Diez-Ordás; Diez-Ordás' expertise includes collective bargaining agreements and employment litigation. The team has particular experience in complex restructuring transactions and advising on the design and implementation of voluntary termination plans for clients that include Banco de Santander, BMW, El Corte Inglés and JP Morgan. The firm has also worked in innovative areas to do with robotisation and artificial intelligence, as well as handling collective bargaining agreements for Generali.
A boutique specialising in employment and labour law, Sagardoy Abogados, member of Ius Laboris ‘stands out for its ability to solve complex problems with expertise and a practical approach’. It has notable strengths in immigration, employee benefits, restructuring and social security, with a particular focus on litigation and collective negotiation procedures. The firm also connects with global markets as a founding member of Ius Laboris, an international alliance of employment and social security law practices. Iñigo Sagardoy leads an experienced team that includes Martín Godino, who is ‘one of the most well-recognised lawyers in Spain’, and employment litigator Román Gil. The ‘innovative and comprehensive’ practice successfully defended Banco Popular Español against the Union CGT in a dispute related to pay for employee training. In another recent highlight, it negotiated a collective dismissal agreement for Banco Santander involving 1100 workers. Marc Carrera left to join PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal.
‘Top performer’ Uría Menéndez specialises in collective dismissal and bargaining negotiations, as well as complex litigations. The ‘well-balanced’ practice is led by Ignacio García-Perrote, who focuses on contentious work before the labour courts and large labour negotiations, and ‘stand-out’ practitioner Mario Barros, who is ‘an expert in employment matters and litigation proceedings’. Also notable is counsel Álvaro Navarro, who is particularly experienced in advising on contracts. Clients include Aena, Bankia and Coca-Cola. The firm also acted for Vodafone España in negotiations to set up a voluntary termination plan for employees 55 years old or over. In another recent highlight, the team advised the Central Bank of Spain on the retirement of its Governor.
Abdón Pedrajas is a boutique employment firm with a particular focus on complex restructuring, discrimination disputes and redundancy litigation. The practice is known for its ‘technical expertise and customer service’. The team is led by managing partner Antonio Pedrajas. Sonia Cortés, who specialises in complex collective restructurings, is another name to note, as is highly regarded Ivan López García de la Riva. In a recent highlight, it assisted Bankinter with all employment matters related to its takeover of Barclays Portugal, which included over 100 individual and collective court cases. Among the firm’s other key clients are the Royal Bank of Scotland, Mercedes-Benz and Gas Natural.
Jordi Puigbó leads the group at Cuatrecasas, which specialises in the employment aspects of national and international M&A transactions. The department also includes Salvador Del Rey, who specialises in technology’s impact on the labour market; and a sub-group focused on innovation in the sector, led by Manuel Luque from the Barcelona office. Key clients include Caixabank, Heineken, Siemens Healthcare and Dow Chemical. The firm is advising Ferrocarril Metropolitá de Barcelona on Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona’s collective agreement, as well as assisting Caixabank with labour and litigation matters related to negotiating agreements with the CaixaBank Employees Association. María Jesús Parra Pérez and Javier Llorente left to join Crowe Legal Y Tributario S.L.P.
DLA Piper LLP specialises in employment and labour matters across a range of areas that include technology, the financial services sector and the hospitality industry. The firm is also experienced in issues arising from the emerging gig economy. The expertise of team leader Pilar Menor focuses on collective labour negotiations and employment litigation, particularly in restructurings and collective layoffs. Her team recently advised Bolton Medical España on its workforce restructuring process. Other work includes assisting Ornua Ingredientes España with employee negotiations related to temporarily suspensions, due to a fire that destroyed the workplace. Other key clients include Vodafone, Stuart Delivery and Grupo Alfonso Gallardo.
Pérez-Llorca is particularly active in employment issues in the banking sector and has a particular expertise in collective negotiations. Luis Enrique Fernández Pallarés leads the practice and is experienced in complex transactions, corporate restructurings and cross-border projects. The team advised Avis on changing the labour conditions related to the delivery and collection of cars out of ordinary service hours; Daniel Cifuentes led on this matter. In another recent highlight, the firm assisted Virgin Active with the contract termination of its management team in Spain. Other key clients include Banco Santander, Airbus, HP and Bankia.
Ceca Magán Abogados
Employment law specialist Ceca Magán Abogados provides ‘knowledge and experience’ across the sector and is ‘able to deliver on time’. The practice is led by founding partner Esteban Ceca Magán, Enrique Ceca Gómez-Arevalillo, who specialises in collective agreements and disputes, and the ‘excellent’ Juan Antonio Linares Polaino, whose ‘knowledge and contacts with trade unions is very valuable, as is his skill in collective agreement negotiations’. Also notable is Jorge Sarazã, who has ‘excellent knowledge of labour law and very good conflict resolution abilities’. The team acted for Repsol Petrol in the collective dispute related to the improvement of social security and health insurance, and represented BNP Paribas in claims resulting from the dismissal of several workers. Juan Ignacio Olmos recently joined from Andersen Tax & Legal and Manuel Fernández-Fontecha arrived from EY Abogados.
Clifford Chance's practice is known for the ‘professionalism of its lawyers, knowledge of labour legislation and excellent performance’. Specialising in multi-jurisdictional advice, it has particular experience in restructurings, collective negotiations and litigation. Counsel Juan Calvente leads the ‘very efficient and skilled team’ that ‘goes further than expected, providing good solutions to problems, even before they appear’. The firm recently acted for Wizink Bank in a collective conflict with the trade union, related to provisions in the bank's collective bargaining agreement. In other work, the department advised US-based company Lobster Trap on employment matters related to the opening of operations in Spain.
Deloitte Legal specialises in ‘complex cases and designing different strategies to solve them’ and has notable expertise in labour relations, particularly collective bargaining and labour force restructuring. Practice head Fernando Bazán inspires ‘trust and confidence with a real focus on the customer, going the extra mile’. He can call on the expertise of senior associate Covadonga Roldan, whose ‘understanding of the client’s business needs and urgency of the matter is outstanding’. The team is representing Barceló in administrative proceedings related to government-funded national insurance rate discounts granted to promote the hiring of permanent staff, as well as advising Allianz on the declaration of self-employed contractor labour relationships.
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo has the ‘flexibility to adapt to customer needs’, as well as a particular expertise in employment issues related to M&A transactions and restructuring. Practice head Ignacio Campos specialises in collective negotiations. Juan Antonio de Lanzas is also recommended. The team advised Albatros on the company’s restructuring process, including a collective procedure related to the suspension of employment contracts, and acted for Engie Cartagena in the negotiation of its second collective bargaining agreement.
Allen & Overy
The ‘fast and profesional’ Allen & Overy specialises in advising on the exits of executive directors or top executives. Practice head Silvia Bauzá joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP and brings expertise in collective negotiations, particularly collective dismissals. She can call on the experience of senior associates Javier Alonso de Armiño, who is an expert in restructuring, and Ana Hernández, who also joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP. The practice advised Xella on the dismissal of two top executives of acquired subsidiary Ursa Insulation, and assisted EQT with all employment matters related to the sale of Islalink to Fiera Infrastructure.
At Andersen Tax & Legal, practice head Alfredo Aspra specialises in employment litigation and corporate restructuring. The team has particular experience in restructurings resulting from insolvency and corporate reorganisations. In a recent highlight, the department is advising Grupo Redexis Gas on negotiating the company’s second collective bargaining agreement, and assisting Anida with issues arising from the acquisition of a large stake in the company by Cerberus. Other key clients include Ferrovial Agroman, Seur and Grupo Telefónica.
Araoz & Rueda has ‘significant expertise’ in the sector and provides ‘personal attention with detailed analysis of the situation and associated risks’. The ‘knowledgeable and effective’ practice is led by counsel Alfonso Suárez, who is particularly experienced in contentious employment matters. The team recently assisted Consolis Group with the closure of its Spanish branch, and represented the US Department of Justice in a dispute with Comisiones Obreras, related to the collective dismissal of a group of workers from the Rota naval base. Other key clients include DHL, Grupo Avanza and Alvana Ventures.
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo specialises in collective restructuring work and senior executive employment contracts. Leading the practice is César Navarro, who is an expert in the employment implications of corporate transactions. Also notable is Elena Esparza, who was promoted to partner in 2018 and is particularly experienced in disputes arising from the employment sector. The team advised Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy on the launch of its global restructuring project affecting more than 6,000 employees, and acted for Haitong in the negotiation and implementation of a collective redundancy procedure. In another recent highlight, the firm assisted Skyscanner with a number of dismissals and terminations by mutual agreement.
Known for its ‘availability and passion’, Eversheds Sutherland Nicea's team is noted for its 'fast' turnaround ‘while always maintaining quality and excellence’. The 'professional, adaptable and understandable’ firm is focused on innovation in the field and is particularly active in collective bargaining and M&A-related employment advice. Jacobo Martínez Pérez de Espinosa stands out for his ‘vision and professionalism’. He leads an experienced team that includes Luis Aguilar, who is ‘an experienced, detail-oriented professional’, and Ana Cid, who was recently promoted to counsel. Also recommended is associate Alberto Garcia, who is 'a great professional’. The department advised Welbilt on employment matters arising from its acquisition of the shares of Crem International Group. Other key clients include General Electric Group, The Kraft Heinz Company and 4Finance.
EY Abogados’ particular expertise is in multi-jurisdictional and restructuring matters. Specialist in collective negotiations Raúl García leads the practice and is advising Prosegur on employment issues arising from the acquisition of various Latin America-based companies. Other notable clients include Pescanova, Norgwegian Airlines and Caixabank. Manuel Fernández-Fontecha left for Ceca Magán Abogados and Marina Figueredo left for Think Legal Abogados.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has particular experience in cross-border matters in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as non-standard forms of employment including the gig economy. Practice head Raquel Flórez is a specialist in multi-jurisdictional employment matters and jointly heads the firm’s international Latin America group. In recent highlights, the practice assisted Weight Watchers with the insolvency process of its Spanish subsidiaries, and advised Logitech on terminating an executive's employment. The department also handled employment matters related to the closure of a plant in Spain for United Parcel Service. Senior associate Raquel Domínguez is another name to note.
Hogan Lovells International LLP's team is led by Luis Enrique de la Villa, who specialises in employment matters related to restructuring. The practice is known for its 'expertise in the field and ability to meet the needs of the client’. The main focus of work is litigation and advice to multinationals. Recent work includes advising Hollister on the restructuring of its warehouse in Spain. The department also assisted Schweppes with its collective bargaining agreement. Former team leader Silvia Bauzá and senior associate Ana Hernández left for Allen & Overy, while counsel Vidal Galindo moved to Jones Day.
King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons handles a range of employment matters, including restructurings, social security issues and employment litigation. Dispute specialist Carlos Gil leads the practice and provides expertise in contracts and remuneration strategies for private equity managers. The team assisted Nicolás Correa with the restructuring of the top management team of one of its companies, Hiperbaric. In another highlight, the department is advising Valencia Club de Fútbol in all matters relating to employment. Other clients include Aurelius Group, EDP Energías de Portugal and Globalvía.
PwC Tax & Legal Services
Known for ‘a client-oriented approach, professionalism, efficiency and quality’, PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal has expertise in a range of employment matters, notably in multi-jurisdictional issues and collective restructurings. Labour specialist Marta Alamán leads the practice and has particular experience in collective bargaining. The ‘well-balanced team’ also includes ‘excellent negotiator’ Julio Calvo, who has ‘deep legal knowledge' and is noted for his 'conflict resolution skills’. Further strengthening the bench is experienced employment expert Marc Carrera, who joined from Sagardoy Abogados, member of Ius Laboris.
Restructuring and collective bargaining specialist Àlex Santacana Folgueroles leads the team at Roca Junyent, which has particular experience in collective agreements and M&A-related employment issues. The firm is also active in labour inspections and industrial action mediation, with Luis Enrique de la Villa notable in this area. The team assisted CaixaBank with matters concerning trade union elections in 2018, and advised Cambra de Comerç de Barcelona on negotiating two collective bargaining agreements. Other clients include Prenatal and Nexus.
Specialising in acting for financial institutions, Simmons & Simmons is particularly active in multi-jurisdictional matters across the sector. Specialist in cross-border employment matters Eduardo Peñacoba leads a team that was strengthened by the recent arrival of experienced counsel Jesús Gimeno, who joined from Jones Day. The practice advised the Swedish pharmaceutical group Recipharm on the employment aspects of its agreement with Roche, and acted for German multinational Fresenius Medical Care during a collective layoff affecting 54 employees.