Labour and employment in Venezuela

Baker & McKenzie, S.C.

Litigation is a key strength of Baker & McKenzie, S.C.'s 'capable and experienced' labour and employment team, which has particular expertise in complex cases involving board-level executives. The practice handles both domestic and international matters, drawing on its extensive network to advise on the movement of employees, the global rollout of labour policies, and multi-jurisdictional restructurings. The 'responsive and thorough' Carlos Felce, who is highly experienced in both contentious and non-contentious matters, leads the practice. Senior associates Sebastián Nastari and Daniel Fragiel are also key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Felce

Testimonials

‘Baker McKenzie stand out for their personalised attention to clients, professionalism and knowledge of the law. In our opinion they are the best in the country.’

‘Sebastian Nastari is always available and attentive to our requests.’

‘They know the client’s business and are dedicated to their work.’

‘Capable and experienced.’

‘We have been working with the Baker firm in Venezuela for many years. They have provided us with sound advice along with multiple options for our consideration on issues and problems.’

‘Carlos Felce is our point person. Carlos is responsive and thorough. He advises us carefully on considerations and options. He is a very pleasant and helpful person.’

Key clients

Anglo American

Aspen Technology

Associated Press

Eni

AT&T / Vrio Corporation

Gold Data Inc.

Melia

Parmalat

Telefónica

3M

Broadcom

Laboratorios Leti

D'Empaire

Alejandro Disilvestro and Victorino Márquez lead the labour and employment team at D’Empaire, which is particularly noted for its strength in collective contract negotiations and the management of conflict with labour unions. Additional areas of expertise include advising on restructurings and reorganisations as a result of M&A transactions, labour mobility issues, including the transfer of employees to foreign jurisdictions, mass terminations and labour litigation. At associate level, Biba Arciniegas and Aixa Añez are the names to note. Since publication, Arciniegas has been raised to the partnership and Añez elected counsel - both promotions effective as of  March 2022.

Practice head(s):

Alejandro Disilvestro; Victorino Márquez

Testimonials

‘The team’s ability to work with third parties is unique, and the way they handle any crises that arise, something very common in Venezuela, is exceptional. Additionally, the tranquillity with which they handle crises is contagious, so the client feels very calm.’

‘Their communications with clients are easy and sincere, so it is a transparent relationship. Alejandro Disilvestro deserves a special mention.’

Key clients

Copa Airlines

Syngenta

Thomson Reuters

Industrias Ulma

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Caracas, Venezuela

Socominter – Tenaris

Maurel & Prom

Tetra Pak

Bimbo

Work highlights

  • Advised Copa Airlines on restructuring its operations in Venezuela, including assisted with the termination of the employment of the company’s personnel.
  • Assisted Thomson Reuters with the transfer of employees and contracts as a result of the sale of a majority stake of the Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk Unit to Blackstone Group.
  • Assisted the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Caracas with restructuring the severance payment scheme offered to employees.

Dentons

Dentons advises an impressive roster of local businesses and major international companies, including BAT, Equinor and American Airlines, on labour and employment matters in Venezuela. The team assists with employee transfers, mass terminations of employment and other restructuring issues, in addition to handling high-value labour litigation. Juan Carlos Pró-Rísquez - 'undoubtedly one of the most prominent labour practitioners in the country' - leads the team. Yanet Aguiar advises on immigration, data privacy and social security matters, and Esther Cecilia Blondet and Eirys Mata Marcano are also noted for their experience in contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Juan Carlos Pró-Rísquez

Testimonials

‘The Dentons team are highly qualified. We consider them to be the strongest team in Venezuela in labour matters and that is why they have been our lawyers for many years. Compared to other law firms, Dentons stand out for their level of both theoretical and practical knowledge of labour law and their focus on obtaining solutions and risk mitigation plans that allow our company to move forward in an environment as complicated as Venezuela.’

‘Their level of knowledge and experience as well as their personal touch when interacting with clients makes them stand out without a doubt. Dentons are a key ally for our company and their legal opinions are recognised as excellent not only in Venezuela but throughout Latin America. They have serious, professional lawyers with an impeccable career and experience.’

‘Dentons’ labour law team is probably one of the most robust in the country, with a deep understanding of technical legal issues and of the challenging environment. In addition, they acquire in-depth knowledge of their clients’ business and thereby deliver a legal service tailored to the needs of each one.’

‘Juan Carlos Pró-Rísquez is undoubtedly one of the most prominent labour practitioners in the country.’

Key clients

Alimentos Mary

American Airlines

Air France

Banesco

Brinks (Servicio Panamericano de Protección)

British American Tobacco (Bigott)

Chilean Embassy

Finastra

Hapag-Lloyd

Johnson & Johnson Group

Mitsubishi

Work highlights

  • Represented American Airlines in a US$6,338,680 lawsuit brought by a former contractor who rendered his services as a medical doctor of the company, requesting payment of statutory labour benefits.
  • Represented Cigarrera Bigott, part of the BAT Group, in a lawsuit brought by a former worker requesting indemnities for work-related illness.
  • Represented a multinational technology company in negotiations with a Venezuelan expatriate employee located in Spain, successfully achieving a settlement agreement without triggering any judicial actions from the employee.

Leĝa Abogados

Leĝa Abogados‘ ‘prepared and expert‘ team handles a wide range of labour and employment work, with considerable expertise in collective bargaining, employee transfers and layoffs, and restructurings. The team is also noted for its strength in labour litigation, representing clients before various courts and public agencies. It acts for clients across a wide spread of sectors, with niche expertise in advising Major League Baseball teams. John Tucker Barboza and the ‘strategicGabriel Calleja lead the practice. Carlos Alberto Henríquez, Luis Azuaje and Natalia De Paz Garmendia all have notable expertise in labour litigation and collective negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Gabriel Calleja; John Tucker Barboza

Testimonials

‘Leĝa Abogados has a very versatile team with upright and capable attorneys.’

‘The lawyers are very technically skilled and experienced.’

‘They have a comprehensive knowledge of both collective and individual labour processes. Gabriel Calleja leads a prepared and expert team and thinks strategically. Luis Azuaje is able to manage strategic relationships very well. Compared to other firms, they handle the relationship with the labour authorities very well.’

‘Gabriel Calleja is a strategic partner and ally, and cares about getting to know his client so he can provide the best advice.’

‘The team has extensive knowledge of collective and individual labour law that makes it a standout in the market. They care about client service.’

‘Gabriel Calleja stands out for the client service he provides.’

Key clients

Coca Cola FEMSA

Diageo

Nestle

New York Mets

Lenovo

Tampa Bay Rays

General Electric/Baker Hughes

Cerveceria Regional

Makro Comercializadora

IBM

Vida Herbal (Herbalife)

Work highlights

  • Acted for the Cincinnati Reds in a claim for employment benefits in excess of $200,000 filed by a former employee.
  • Advising IBM on new case law concerning the calculation and payment of benefits in foreign currency.
  • Acting for Nestlé Venezuela in proceedings requesting the annulment of administrative decisions taken by the Labour Inspectors’ Office ordering the reinstatement of former employees based on false allegations provided to the administrative agency.

Altum Abogados, S.C.

The 'excellent' Mariana Roso leads Altum Abogados, S.C.'s 'highly skilled' and 'flexible' team, which advises prominent clients from a range of sectors, including food and beverages, consumer products, pharmaceuticals and technology. Advising on the hiring and dismissal of employees, compensation and benefits, labour audits and restructurings makes up the team's workload. Senior associate Ariana Cabrera is experienced in the negotiation of employment contracts and dismissals, as well as in labour litigation.

Practice head(s):

Mariana Roso

Testimonials

‘In my opinion, Altum differs from other firms by having a highly skilled team who are flexible in adjusting to the needs of each case in order to successfully reach a balanced and fair result. They handle each case with experience and good communication.’

‘Mariana Rosso stands out for her ethics, effort and proactivity. Her communication with the client is effective and assertive – she is able to evaluate different scenarios and, most importantly, has a personal touch.’

‘The people in the team are very professional. They show the ability to listen and be receptive to what the client is saying, and they offer us viable options within the legal framework, adapting their advice to our requirements.’

‘Ariana Cabrera and Mariana Roso demonstrate professionalism, warmth and empathy when advising clients and supporting them through the process.’

‘Mariana Roso is highly competent and knowledgeable about the market and local practice. Her team is very meticulous and responsible.’

‘They have very robust business sense, which means the advice received is very thorough and helps us to quickly resolve sensitive and risk issues for the organisation. Mariana Roso and Ariana Cabrera are always promptly available.’

‘What stands out is the team’s combination of technical ability, immediate responses and empathy with the client.’

‘Mariana Roso is an excellent lawyer dedicated to ensuring that her clients get the best legal advice and assistance, which is of a very high quality, corresponds their current needs and offers realistic solutions. Ariana Cabrera has excellent knowledge of labour law and is fully available to advise clients and attend to their needs.’

InterJuris Abogados

InterJuris Abogados' 'innovative and pragmatic' team has notable strength in contentious employment matters, representing employers in proceedings before the Labour Ministry and the courts. It also advises on regulatory matters, including cases concerning the impact of technology on labour law. The team acts for a roster of international household names, including Ericsson and Hewlett Packard, with support from its offices in Miami and Madrid. The 'brilliant' Angel Meléndez Cardoza leads the team, while associates Danielis Toro, Daniela Urdaneta and Armando Hurtado are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Angel Meléndez Cardoza

Testimonials

‘They are business minded and very practical; that is their greatest quality and differentiator.’

‘Angel Meléndez is an expert in labour law; he makes the difficult easy and always finds solutions to problems. Danielis Toro and Daniela Urdaneta are also very good.’

‘They are distinguished by their direct and personalised client service, and their deep and up-to-date knowledge of this area of law. Angel Melendez Meléndez stands out.’

‘They are well-rounded lawyers with great knowledge of labour matters. They are proactive and always help us find practical and efficient solutions to problems. Compared to other firms, they are very competitive and their quality of service is much higher.’

‘They are proactive, accessible and highly trained attorneys. Angel Meléndez has a high level of knowledge in labour matters. His strategies for court cases are very good and since we started working with him we have had a good record of success. Danielis Toro, Daniela Urdaneta and Armando Hurtado are young lawyers but have a very good grasp of labour matters. They are very professional, proactive and efficient.’

‘They are very innovative and pragmatic lawyers. They understand our business very well and that differentiates them from other lawyers we have worked with.’

‘Angel Meléndez is a brilliant lawyer; he always has a simple way of explaining things and he always gives us very innovative alternatives. He has extensive knowledge of the law, but at the same time he knows the market and the new trends.’

Key clients

Cervecería Polar

Pepsi Cola Venezuela

Alimentos Polar

Productos EFE

Ericsson

Industria Láctea de Venezuela (Lactalis)

Goddard Catering Group

Uninet Business School

CMEC Engineering

Women on the Stage

Team Remoto

Al Jazeera

Work highlights

  • Advised Women on the Stage on the hiring of employees for teleworking without having a branch in the countries where the employees are domiciled.
  • Advised Team Remoto on the hiring of employees for teleworking without having a branch in the countries where the employees are domiciled.
  • Acted for Cervecería Polar in a lawsuit brought by a group of 15 employees, whose employment relationship was suspended due to the lack of raw materials for production.

LABOR – Gestión de Gente

Boutique employment law firm LABOR – Gestión de Gente has extensive experience in compliance matters, in addition to assisting with restructurings, the collective suspension of employment relationships and modification of working conditions, and the implementation of remote and teleworking. Practice head Carlos Rivera has notable expertise in negotiation and human resources management, in addition to handling labour disputes and restructurings. Another key team member is Pedro Uriola, who has expertise in social security and collective bargaining matters.

Practice head(s):

Carlos Rivera

Key clients

C.A. de Seguros American International (AIG)

Banco Occidental de Descuento, Banco Universal (BOD)

Laboratorios La Santé

Astrazeneca Venezuela

Laboratorios Elmor

Cámara Nacional de Medicamentos Genéricos y Afines (Canamega)

Laboratorios Leti

Grupo La Caridad

Jorge Kogan

Work highlights

  • Advised C.A. de Seguros American International (AIG) on a review of its compensation mechanism.
  • Advised Cámara Nacional de Medicamentos Genéricos y Afines (Canamega) on negotiating the extension of a collective bargaining agreement during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Acted for Jorge Kogan in a labour lawsuit filed against Confederación Andina de Fomento (CAF), one of the largest multilateral institutions in Latin America, concerning the client’s employment relationship to CAF.

Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Paez Pumar & Cia.

Mendoza, Palacios, Acedo, Borjas, Paez Pumar & Cia. has a broad offering in the labour and employment space, with experience in labour litigation at all levels, as well as collective bargaining negotiations, employee dismissals, workplace safety and social security matters. In addition, the team advises on hiring personnel, work contracts and labour due diligence relating to M&A transactions. Esteban Palacios and Alfonso Graterol - both experienced litigators - lead the practice. Carlos Páez Pumar has experience in contentious and non-contentious matters.

Practice head(s):

Esteban Palacios; Alfonso Graterol

Testimonials

‘MENPA provides a specialised team selected according to the scope of our needs and concerns, which guarantees that we have the best possible team to meet our requirements.’

All of MENPA’s staff are committed to providing the best possible service. They always find the most qualified person to meet our requirements.’

‘What stands out is the excellent client service provided by the firm’s lawyers, their legal knowledge and their ability to propose legal strategies for the benefit of the company, despite the difficult environment in Venezuela.’

‘They are resilient. Despite the difficult situation in Venezuela, the firm has been able to continue providing a good service.’

Key clients

MSD Farmacéutica (a subsidiary of Merck, Sharp and Dohme)

Coca-Cola Servicios de Venezuela (a subsidiary of The Coca Cola Company)

BI Worldwide de Venezuela (a subsidiary of BI Worldwide)

AON Risk Group

Hotel Paseo Las Mercedes (Inversiones Velicomen)

Distribuidora Alcarin

Grupo Perret

Grupo Formiconi

Juan Van Heel

Real Seguros

Work highlights

  • Representing MSD Farmacéutica in labour litigation.
  • Advising Aon Risk Group regarding the best way to structure the company’s obligations under Venezuelan labour legislation, in order to relieve the fiscal consequences for its employees.
  • Advising Hotel Paseo Las Mercedes on all its labour issues, such as a physical injury claim and salary benefit claims.

Araquereyna

Araquereyna has experience in collective labour agreements, labour litigation and immigration issues, including advising on obtaining visas for foreign workers. Luis Alfredo Araque and Patricia Lozada Pérez are the key contacts.

Jurado Blanco & Aguirre (JBA Legal)

The wide-ranging labour and employment offering at Jurado Blanco & Aguirre (JBA Legal) spans labour litigation, the negotiation of individual and collective agreements, and compliance advice. At the head of the practice, Simón Jurado-Blanco has a strong track record of advising on social security issues, contract terminations, disciplinary proceedings and collective redundancies, and Alexis Aguirre Sánchez has notable expertise in litigation and collective bargaining.

Practice head(s):

Simón Jurado-Blanco; Alexis Aguirre Sánchez

Testimonials

‘What makes them special is that they keep us constantly up to date on labour matters, presenting us with all options on each case. They are available almost 24 hours a day if necessary.’

‘In our option, what stands out is that we deal with Simon Jurado personally, and the team are available to advise us at the time it is needed. They are always up to date on the case and can clearly explain legal matters to non-lawyers.’

‘The JBA team is made up of specialists in the labour area who seek out clear and friendly solutions for the employees who enter or leave our company. Their added value is their ability to generate timely communications on new laws or regulations in the country.’

‘They provide us with immediate, crystal-clear advice.’

‘They are the best team of attorneys we have ever worked with, so much so that they are the exclusive firm of our company. The personal attention that they give us, along with their timely responses, and their knowledge and experience in labour law and other areas of law, mean they are a top firm for us in Venezuela. They provide us with answers and support at any time. Simon Jurado and Alexis Aguirre get directly involved and handle our cases. Their grasp of the law and the experience they have is incredible.’

‘The legal knowledge, expertise and experience of the team makes an important difference. In each meeting we have with them, they always give us all the necessary information – they explain all the scenarios we face and give us the peace of mind of being well represented. We have had good results in all the efforts we have entrusted to them.’

‘Jurado Blanco y Aguirre is a highly experienced team in labour matters, with specialised and up-to-date knowledge of this area of law, and they are highly effective in the administrative procedures that must be taken before the entities that regulate us. Their main strengths as a team include timely and effective service, their willingness to listen to the client, and their ability to come up with alternative solutions, always weighting the risks inherent in each action.’

‘They actively and diligently listen to their clients. The team’s best features are their knowledge, their speed in responding and the service they deliver.’

Key clients

Banco del Caribe (Bancaribe)

Sodexho Pass Venezuela

BBVA Banco Provincial

Empresas Polar

Transporte Marítimo Maersk

Kuehne+Nagel

CA Editora El Nacional

Sucesora de Jose Puig & Cia

Deli Corporación

Toyocentro

Intertek

Diario Panorama

DHL

Papeles Luciano

Agencia de Viajes Pasarini Suarez

Lior Cosmetics

HMO Servisalud

Desarrollos Hoteleros La Castellana

Poscomercial

Work highlights

  • Advised El Nacional on changes to its business structure to avoid outsourcing.
  • Acting for Kuehne+Nagel in several administrative and judicial proceedings brought by internal and external workers.
  • Advising Transporte Marítimo Maersk on compliance with the current labour regulations.

Ponte Andrade & Casanova

Founding partners Ignacio Andrade and Francisco Casanova lead the team at Ponte Andrade & Casanova, which advises both local companies and multinational corporations on labour and employment, social security, and occupational health and safety matters. The team is experienced in contract drafting and review, the employment aspects of commercial agreements, and negotiations with employees and the termination of employment relationships. It also handles labour litigation.

Practice head(s):

Ignacio Andrade Monagas; Francisco Casanova Sanjurjo

Key clients

Hyland Software

SC Johnson & Son De Venezuela

Infocent

Coca Cola Femsa De Venezuela

Delsur Banco Universal

Inversiones Instrumental Atlas

Servicios Panamericanos de Protección (Serpapro) (Brinks Group)

Documentos Mercantiles (Domesa)

ZEA BBDO (BBDO Worldwide)

Banesco Banco Universal

Banco Exterior, Banco Universal

ASAP Venezuela

Mr. Carlos Vargas (1001 Ideas para mi país, Ideas Inquietas, Cultura Lírica)

Consorcio Lake Plaza

Mr. Adil Coury

Nomi Sistemas

Todoticket

AseguraPro Sociedad de Corretaje de Seguros

Tamanaco Consulting Group

Inversiones 8839

Work highlights

  • Acting as coordinating regional counsel for Hyland Software on various employment matters, including the drafting and review of employment policies.
  • Assisted Johnson & Son De Venezuela with adapting its employment polices to Venezuelan legislation.
  • Acted for Coca Cola Femsa de Venezuela in three connected judicial procedures brought by 22 employees claiming overtime payment.

Rodríguez & Mendoza

Rodríguez & Mendoza has extensive experience in conducting labour audits, in addition to handling labour litigation and the negotiation of collective agreements. Enrique Itriago Alfonzo leads the team.

Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz

Travieso Evans Arria Rengel & Paz's labour practice handles the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, litigation, and regulatory and health and safety matters. Oscar Ignacio Torres, Hernando Barboza Russian, Wesley Soto López and Yeoshua Bograd Lamberti are the key contacts.