Daniel Vergna has experience in labor litigation and consulting with emphasis on foreign and international matters. He is member of the Brazilian Academy of International Law (ABDI), the Centre for Studies in International Courts at University of São Paulo (NETI-USP), and the International Bar Association (IBA). He speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.
The government recently ratified the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. The convention aims to remove the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalisation of foreign documents. The government's goal in ratifying the convention is clearly to reduce bureaucracy. For companies, this reduction will decrease the expenses associated with, among other things, validating foreign documents.
The recent labour and employment reform enacted in Brazil has introduced important changes to labour and employment relations. One of the principal changes is the introduction of arbitration for the resolution of employment disputes. Although the changing law requires a change of mindset, employers should take advantage of it and begin to consider the possibility of instituting arbitration for certain employment contracts.
The Supreme Court recently rendered two decisions on labour and employment matters that may be understood as the beginning of the reforms promised by Brazil's new president. The cases centred on employees' right to expenses for commuting to and from work and Brazil's working hours regime. These first steps by the Supreme Court are a positive sign of what is to come in the near future.
Brazil's laws provide protection to women, minors, disabled individuals and the elderly. This protection encompasses, among other things, rights to maternity leave, job security and equal treatment, regardless of gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, nationality or skin colour. While employers may provide training programmes to encourage non-discrimination, key performance indicators may not be appropriate to this end.
Mediation is one of the most important principles of labour dispute resolution. However, despite the growing number of labour claims, the number of mediation proceedings has remained stagnant and research shows that there has been little improvement in this regard. This scenario may change in the near future, as Congress recently took steps to encourage parties (and courts) to resolve disputes – including labour disputes – through mediation.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment recently issued new rules on drug testing which require all professional drivers involved in road passenger transport and road cargo transport to undergo drug testing. The rules may help employers and employees to avoid labour accidents and provide adequate treatment for drug-addicted employees.
Provisional Measure 680 – which launched the Employment Protection Plan (EPP) – has finally entered into force. Under the new law, companies now have until December 31 2016 to participate in the plan. The EPP seeks to protect formal jobs and encourage negotiations between employers and employees.
A national anti-bullying programme was recently introduced by Law 13,185. The programme provides a framework for creating, developing and disseminating policies to counter bullying. Employers must consider how to address these issues – in particular, when bullying occurs outside the workplace, as seems to be the case with most cyberbullying.
Changes to Brazil's outsourcing rules are expected following the House of Representatives' recent approval of a new draft law. In contrast to the existing provisions on outsourcing, the draft law would allow any part of a company's business to be outsourced, rather than only non-core activities as at present. Companies hope that the new law will make outsourcing less bureaucratic and more unrestricted.
The Superior Court recently approved a collective preliminary injunction to suspend the terms of Ordinance 540/2004 that partially regulated the Ministry of Labour and Employment's 'dirty' list, which contained all employers found to have employees working in conditions akin to slavery. As such, two important public banks recently resumed the financing of employers that were on the dirty list.
The government recently amended the rules on guaranteed pay and unemployment insurance. The first measure extends the period for which an employee must be unable to work due to a work-related illness or injury before he or she can make a claim to receive one year of continuous pay. The second sets forth a regressive grace period before employees can claim unemployment insurance.