Labor & Employment
At the beginning of 2015 it was clear that business would tighten its belt and cut costs on a range of services, including legal ones. Companies reviewed their policies and focused mostly on target-bases requests instead of full legal support. However, the most complex, risky or sensitive matters are still entrusted to law firms by business.
In 2015 employment practice in law firms was focused on crisis-management measures and conflict-solving tasks. About 30% of cases of our practice were directly or indirectly connected to staff optimization or redundancy; representation in labor disputes with former employees covered up to 20% of projects; legal assistance to business and/or staff relocation from temporarily-occupied territories of Ukraine — Luhansk and Donetsk Regions, 24/7 advising on various on-going matters and constant legal updating made up a massive part of the working time of our lawyers.
The previous year brought us a number of changes in employment legislation as well. It ensures business is permanently on its toes and advises counsels to be fully armed. The role of legal counsels is always demanding, but recently it became even more important for clients. We understand that today clients entrust the most sensitive matters to us and expects an advanced level of professionalism and loyalty. A personal approach and solicitude become especially valuable.
Employment lawyers will have a great deal of work to do in 2016. Most likely, the new Labor Code will be adopted by the middle of the year. Thus, lots of changes and challenges will arise for business and counsels. Law firms must be ahead of the game and ready to assist clients needs.
Baker & McKenzie enjoys a busy workload for its team in Kiev, which has emanated from the instructions of top corporate names and organizations. Areas of expertise cover employment audits, mass layoffs, reductions in force, internal corporate investigations, due diligence reviews of employment law liabilities in corporate acquisitions. The team also advises on wage and hour issues, privacy rights, tax, family and medical leave issues, termination of employment, leave of absence policies, compensations, safeguarding trade secrets and intellectual property, insurance coverage for employment law claims, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms for resolving employee grievances and legal claims. Lina Nemchenko, partner, regularly advises clients on data protection and general labor law. Mariana Marchuk, counsel, advises Ukrainian and foreign clients on labor and migration law, specializing in employee compensation, executive transfers, data protection, and employee termination, collective disputes and collective agreements, trade unions.
The labor and employment practice team of Vasil Kisil & Partners is consistently regarded asone of the most respected in the market. The firm is known for extensive coverage with particular focus on dismissal and staff reductions, as well as resolution of labor disputes in courts. Recent selected highlights are defending the interests of the Ukrainian subsidiary of an international cosmetics manufacturer in a labor dispute with a former in-house lawyer; representation of a subsidiary of NCH Capital Inc. in a dispute with the former CEO. Oksana Voynarovska, practice head, enjoys market praise for her long-lasting expertise.
Benefiting from its extensive worldwide network, Dentons is a preferred counsel for international companies doing business in Ukraine seeking advice on employment consequences of mergers, acquisitions, restructurings, closures and downsizing. The Kiev employment team is enlisted by global majors for cross-border issues that arise out of transactions involving several jurisdictions. Over the past years the office gained particularly strong expertise in immigration, termination and trade union issues; and advises on the implications of the recently amended military service and mobilization laws for employers. Experienced Volodymyr Monastyrskyy is the lead partner.
Sayenko Kharenko merged its labor/employment practice with the privacy/data protection and anti-corruption/anti-bribery niche practice groups and formed an integrated labor and compliance practice. In 2015 the team reported on a huge number of new projects. Work highlights include advising on employee transfers within M&A, employment terms and conditions, combining jobs, personnel outsourcing, employee downsizing, engaging foreign labor, global incentive compensation plans/bonus schemes, discrimination, salary indexation and drafting a trade union cooperation agreement. The team is traditionally hired for personal data protection law implications, internal compliance investigations and implementing global whistle-blower schemes. Svitlana Kheda, counsel, is the practice leader.
With its presence in Kiev and Kharkov, ILF (Inyurpolis Law Firm) is among the most recognized and busiest counsels, supporting both contentious and non-contentious matters. For example, in 2015 the team advised an IT outsourcing company on concluding an agreement for providing services of employment with a large American company; assisted SPS Ukraine with the development and implementation of a background check of an American IT company subsidiary. The labor disputes caseload covered a range of clients’ industries. Serhiy Silchenko, partner,has been endorsed for strong litigation skills.
Arzinger’s labor and employment caseload reflects the firm’s industry-wise approach, receiving instructions from the energy, pharmaceuticals, retail, transportation and logistics, investment sectors. In 2015 the dedicated team provided legal advice to a leading international energy company on labor and mobilization matters; assisted international logistic company in registration of labor relations with top management. Partner Pavlo Khodakovsky splits his time between employment and tax practices.
Asters law firm assists a broad range of clients on their permanent labor issues, and handles representation in litigation. Recent instructions covered general employments matters, dismissals, termination and severance payments; data protection, compensation and workplace safety; compliance and mobilization. The team is also preferred for handling sensitive disputes for corporate clients. The firm is especially known for its solid international clientele, among which are VTG AG, WizzAir Ukraine, Visa, Molson Coors Ukraine, and others. Partners Armen Khachaturyan and Vadym Samoilenko are responsible for the practice.
The practice team of CMS Cameron McKenna is increasingly active in employment issues regarding investments and divestments, M&A, implementation of clients’ global employment policies in Ukraine. The Kiev office acts on cross-border outsourcing matters, transfer of employees, employment restructuring, immigration, dismissal. Among the recent highlights is advising the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on various HR matters in connection with the start of operations of the Business Ombudsman’s office in Ukraine. Nataliya Nakonechna and Victor Chykyrynda are noted for employment. Olexander Martinenko, senior partner in Kiev, is the core figure.
Throughout 2015 Ilyashev & Partners demonstrated a broad spread of labor matters, including related M&A support, compliance, contractual issues, redundancies, and traditional for this firm resolution of individual and collective labor disputes. Some representative work included disputes against the Ministry of Industrial Policy and its candidate regarding dismissal and further confirmation of powers of the president of State Enterprise Antonov. Among key clients are: Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, World Bank, ProCredit Bank, BTA Bank, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih; Platform Specialty Products Corporation. The practice is headed by the firm’s managing partner Mikhail Ilyashev.
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine reports on more involvement in the trouble-shooting, rather than housekeeping, side of the legal services spectrum. The office is preferred counsel for many internationally-active clients across different sectors. Throughout the past year the firm assisted one of the world leading software corporations in developing local policies, employment agreements, labor immigration formalities for foreign staff employed with a subsidiary in Ukraine; acted as the Ukrainian legal counsel to the world’s leading supplier of products and solutions for the steel industry on M&A-related employee transfers. Being well positioned in the sports law practice, EPAP Ukraine represents athletes, sport clubs and organizations in labor disputes and transfers, contract negotiations, advised with respect to the regulations of FIFA and the Football Federation of Ukraine. Senior associate Aleksandra Yevstafyeva heads the practice.
The recent focus of Avellum includes structuring employment relationships, subsequent aspects of corporate transactions and restructurings, collective bargaining agreements, employee transfers, redundancies, compensations, and data protection issues. The team, as led by managing partner Mykola Stetsenko, recently advised Bayer AG in connection with the transfer of employees due to the global spin-off of the chemical business of Bayer AG; ClinTec International on employment issues related to structuring employment relationships with employees in Ukraine. The name of Yuriy Zaremba was mentioned during the poll.
Integrites regularly deals with preparing HR/compliance policies, immigration and work permit issues, formalizing labor and civil management relations, personnel outsourcing, terminating labor relations with top management. The team is also facing an increasing volume of work connected with collective bargaining agreements and trade unions, and projects related to foreign personnel. Significant clients include Chemtura, Eni S.p.A., Avon, Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited, Hog Slat Ukraine, Bosnalijek d.d., Olam Ukraine, ZTE Corporation, Rockwool Ukraine, VTB Bank. The practice is led by partner Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko.
Wolf Theiss often acts as counsel for foreign businesses with subsidiaries in Ukraine. The office advised Dr. Ötkeron a contemplated change of the existing board of directors of its Ukrainian subsidiary; advised Alvogen group on the legal regime of employees in connection with an intention to establish a representative office. The firm is currently advising Türktelekom Internationalon issues related to the change of governance structure in its subsidiary. Practice leader Olena Vardamatska is the key figure.
In the course of 2015 EY provided ongoing legal advisory and acted in resolving labor law disputes for a number of large multinational companies. The practice team handled immigration compliance and advisory services for cross-border assignments for large FMCG, oil and gas and aircraft manufacturing companies; as well as personal structuring projects for several high net worth Ukrainian individuals. Albert Sych and Olga Gorbanovskaya are the main contacts.
Attorneys Association PwC Legal consults multinational and Ukrainian clients on a range of labor law issues, including hiring, labor documents, salaries and bonus schemes issues, supporting dismissal procedures. The team supports clients in negotiations with employees, including mediation support within dismissal procedures. The extensive client list includes Cytec, Vesuvius, Bejo, amongst others. The practice is led by experienced managing partner Andrey Pronchenko. Another key contactis Olga Melnychenko.
AstapovLawyers* international law group acts for corporate clients as to employment agreements, remuneration, termination, deploying employees and staff relocation. Foreign employees’ labor in Ukraine was another feature of recent work. The practice is led by partner Oksana Kneychuk.
The main specialization of the GoldenGate law firmis sports law and resolution of sports-related disputes. The firm has been involved in concluding a huge number of contracts between international football clubs (mostly from Italy) and football players, that resulted in players’ employment with the clubs. In 2015 it reported on conclusion of 26 transfer contracts to a total value of around EUR 96.4 million. The team is regularly enlisted by Lombardi Associates Ltd, the UK sports company. For example, the firm is involved in representing ACF Fiorentina against Mohamed Salah and FC Chelsea at the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber in the dispute regarding the unilateral termination of an employment contract by the player without just cause, inducement for such breach and payment of compensation; FC Barcelona at Court of Arbitration for Sport in their appeal against the FIFA transfer ban relating to the registration (employment) of youth players. Anton Sotir, managing partner, is the main point of contract.
Legal Alliance Company focuses on servicing pharmaceutical and healthcare players. The firm was recently hired to support layoffs in the representative office of the German pharmaceutical company; obtaining a work permit for non-residents; restructuring of labor relations, representation in labor disputes. Among the clients are Adamed, Apotex, Astellas, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bosnalijek, Contrad Swiss SA, GlaxoSmithKline, Glenmark, Indesit, PRO.MED.CS Praha, Sanovel, SMD. The practice is led by partner Illya Kostin.
FCLEX is enlisted by clients to review corporate policies and internal regulations for compliance purposes; development of corporate documents and regulations on personnel management, as well as workplace healthcare and safety rules. The litigation side works in close connection with criminal proceedings. Among the recent highlights is representing Concorde Capital in a dispute with a former employee. Three partners, namely Oleg Malinevskiy, Taras Poshyvanyuk and Vyacheslav Kraglevych,are involved in employment matters.
Konnov & Sozanovsky acts on staff leasing and supports labor matters with recruitment companies; providing comprehensive legal assistance with regard to redundancy, changes of working conditions and layoffs. The practice is led by partner Alexey Pokotylo.
Gramatskiy & Partners demonstrates diverse employment projects with a traditional domestic focus. The past year was marked with advising on job placement, labor safety, confidentiality, employment litigation with regard to restoration, wages recovery. Recent work has derived from long-standing clients like Plant Quant, Finrostorg Group and Danfoss Group, City Capital Group, Seven Hills. Mykola Voitovich supervises the practice.
WTS Tax Legal Consulting possesses a wide range of advice and stands out particularly for its outstanding expertise in tax aspects. The firm has experience in structuring expenses on remuneration of labor, elaborating agreements, contracts, outsourcing and outstaffing, restructuring and reorganization, mobilization, audits. Alexander Shemiatkin supervises the practice team.
Dmitrieva & Partners advises on personnel records, labor relations, enterprise restructuring, compliance. The firm frequently acts in courts in individual and collective labor disputes. In 2015 the team provided advisory to the Ukrainian Association of Enterprises Ukrcement. Lyubov Ignatova is the main contact.
In 2015 Attorneys’ Association Gestors acted as a legal adviser to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants regarding separate issues of labor law in Ukraine and the UK. Andriy Tsvyetkov is the lead partner.
The Kharkov-based Shkrebets & Partners represented the interests of the massively laid-off workers of the City department of internal affairs in litigation for reinstatement and recovery of their average monthly wage. Managing partner Eugene Shkrebets is the main contact.