Social and Labor Legislation - Chapter 15 - Doing Business in Brazil
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Doing Business in Brazil - Looseleaf
Doing Business in Brazil - Electronic
Social and Labor Legislation
15.101 Brazil’s employment law framework is based on the Federal
Constitution, which sets forth several employment rights and guarantees,
and also regulates union activities and privileges. Most aspects of
employment relationships in Brazil, however, are governed by the
Consolidated Labor Laws (‘CLT’), which combine several laws dating
back to 1943. Brazil’s employment framework, which was designed to
cater to an industrial rather than a post-industrial society, is quite dated. For
example the current legal framework favors litigation over alternative
dispute resolution. There is a specialized court in Brazil, known generally
as Justiça do Trabalho, responsible for resolving labor-related disputes.
Justiça do Trabalho is organized in three tiers. The first tier is the lower
labor court, usually with jurisdiction within the city (or region) where it is
located. The second tier is the regional labor court, generally with
jurisdiction over one state. The regional labor court hears appeals from the
decisions issued by the various lower labor courts within the state. The
third tier is the Superior Labor Court located in Brasilia, the federal district,
which is responsible for hearing appeals from regional labor court decisions
that conflict with the case law of other regional labor courts or that breach
the Federal Constitution or federal laws. From an administrative standpoint,
certain government agencies have the authority to enforce the employment
laws. The Labor and Employment Ministry (‘the MTE’) has regional labor
offices in each state. These are responsible for carrying out inspections.
During an inspection, their agents may enter a company’s facilities,
interview employees, and request information, documents and records. If
the MTE finds there has been a violation of the law, the regional labor
office may fine the employer. There is also a Public Prosecutor’s Office for
Labor Affairs (‘the MPT’) to investigate non-compliance with employment
laws. If the MPT finds there has been a breach of the law, it may file a
public civil action with the labor courts against the employer. In the course
of the investigations or even during the development of the public civil
action, the MPT and the defendant may execute a settlement. The
employment law framework is based on the protective principle, whereby
the employees, considered the weaker party in the employment
relationship, are made artificially stronger in legal terms. This results in
institutional bias in all spheres (judicial, legislative and executive) when
handling employment matters.
Pinheiro Neto - Advogados, established in 1942, is Brazil's leading commercial law firm with offices in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia. The founding Editor of this publication, the late J.M. Pinheiro Neto, was the Legal Advisor to the British Chamber of Commerce in Brazil.
J.M. Pinheiro Neto, K.B.E. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1938; State
Attorney for taxes, 1945-1955; worked for the BBC during 1940-41 in England;
awarded the Medal for Services to the Cause of Freedom in 1945; President of the
Anglo-Brazilian Cultural Society, São Paulo, since 1965; Member of the Council of the
British Chamber of Commerce in São Paulo and of the American Chamber of
Commerce, for many years; Director of numerous Brazilian companies; Senior
partner of the firm.
Aleksas Juocys. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1958; Specialized in
tax matters, and head of the tax section of the firm.
Hélio Nicoletti. Law degree, Catholic University, São Paulo, class of 1963,
Postgraduate course in business administration, Fundação Getulio Vargas, São
Paulo, 1967; Head of one of the mergers and acquisitions groups, corporate work,
of the firm.
Antonio Mendes. Law degree, University of Franca, São Paulo class of 1964; Master
of Comparative Law, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.; Head of the
banking and finance group of the firm.
Celso Cintra Mori. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1968; Head of the
litigation group of the firm.
José Roberto Pisani. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of 1972; postgraduate
courses in tax law, Catholic University, São Paulo. Head of one of the tax groups of the
Antonio J. Peres Picolomini. Law degree, Catholic University, Campinas, class of
1968; Head of the labor and labor litigation group of the firm.
Noemia C.M. de Oliveira Novaes. Law degree, University of São Paulo, class of
1971; Specialization in International Law, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Partner
with Pinheiro Neto-Advogados; Experience in the computer science, technology
transfer, and trademark and patent areas.