Labor Law Experts Contemplate a Busy YearBy Pedro Alcalá | Tue, 11/03/2020 - 11:00
Q: What led to the creation and configuration of COIN SRC?
A: We originally opened our law firm to offer corporate legal services. Over time, we developed our expertise in the field of labor laws. This category is now the firm’s central and exclusive service. We have evolved together with our clients, many of which began as independent family enterprises. Today, many of them are important and sizable international corporations and we have been a part of their success. We also want to help companies and entrepreneurs that start out in small home offices to grow organically from that point. We want them to focus on their business while we oversee and strengthen their labor matters so that they can walk on solid ground. We hope that our 26 years of experience will be of particular relevance this year. We want to make sure that 2020 does not turn into a year of long, expensive trials but rather a year of smooth operating processes during these troubled times.
Q: How are you facing the challenges that have arisen in 2020 as labor issues have been pushed to the forefront?
A: The situation, particularly regarding the employer-employee relationship, would become too complex if we insisted on viewing 2020 only through a legal lens. To be so strict and close-minded in our perspective regarding this year and, in the process, disregard the social impact resulting from these ongoing issues, would lead us to create a certain instability at the heart of the companies involved. This approach could destabilize the employer-employee relationship, along with other related connections, such as the employee-family relationship and the employee-society relationship.
With this in mind, we need to analyze the obstacles that 2020 has presented to us in an integrated fashion. We need to consider the fact that our advice to our clients cannot be exclusively legal in nature. We do not want them to walk away under the impression that each one of these situations only has one possible solution, such as termination. We want to create options for our clients that prioritize the continuity of employment and explore the possible sacrifices that could be made on either side of that employer-employee relationship to salvage and maintain the employees’ livelihood and honor their right to access social welfare and security. We want to support company owners and managers but also let them see the value of harmony as expressed by the integrity of their workforce in the midst of this complicated situation.
We have tried to be as open as we can in our choice of industries and segments in which we can have a larger presence; after all, all industries and sectors need to follow the same federal labor laws. However, opening up new industries or jumping from one sector to another can actually be quite challenging for a service provider like us. The truth about 2020 is that companies have a greater demand for our services not necessarily because of the many economic challenges that have presented themselves this year. It is related more to how Mexican companies structure their human resources department and how they establish the employer-employee relationship through preventative measures that shield the company against future arbitration. Unfortunately, often we arrive at a situation after companies have failed to take those preventative measures and the company is already in the midst of a conflict. At that point, it is our job to present the company and its human resources department with scenarios on how the conflict could develop so that they can effectively choose a path that is more efficient and all-encompassing than a mere settlement. The traditional view of law firms like ours is that we are good administrators of conflict, but we want our clients to understand that we would much rather be good negotiators. If you are not a good negotiator, you will only create more risks for the company involved.
Q: What are the most important aspects of Mexico’s contracting laws, standards and practices when it comes to protecting employees from abusive company behavior?
A: It is our responsibility to protect both parties throughout any process or dispute that might arise. Employees must not feel targeted or attacked, which could force them to try to solve the issue through channels that will not promote the harmony of the employer-employee relationship. The employer is still our main client but it is exactly through contracting that we manage to protect the interests of both parties simultaneously. Contracting helps us establish a baseline for the employer-employee relationship that can be modified through an agreed upon schedule of periodicity. Contracting, in short, is an essential formal instrument to guarantee labor protections on both sides of the employer-employee relationship. Without it, we end up waiting for a dispute to arise, at which time all previous spoken agreements are likely to be forgotten.
In the Mexican context, it is important to promote a constant and reliable use of contracts because we have a cultural sensibility toward both making verbal agreements and expecting them to be honored at all times. We assume that verbal agreements are more human but they leave both parties vulnerable.
COIN SRC is a Mexican law firm that specializes in labor disputes, employee contracting and legal protections. The firm has 26 years of experience managing cases.