Employment

The Employment practice provides a full range of legal services in the field of labour law including assistance in resolving individual and collective labour disputes. The practice is recommended by Chambers Europe 2019 and Legal 500 EMEA 2019 international legal ratings, as well as the Russian ratings Pravo 300, Kommersant, and Rating of Sympathies Pravo-300. The practice's clients include the major Russian and international trading and telecommunications companies, IT corporations, manufacturing and pharmaceutical holdings.


Consulting in the field of labour law:

  • Preparation of draft employment contracts and localization of personnel documentation used in an international group of companies
  • Development of local regulations governing wages including the development of bonus schemes and option programs
  • Preparation of legal opinions on material liability and compensation for damage
  • Consulting on the processing and protection of personal data of employees
  • Providing legal assistance related to the hiring of foreign employees
  • Legal support regarding COVID-19 and its impact on labour relations

Support of personnel procedures, inspections and investigations:

  • Support of negotiations in the interests of any party to labour relations
  • Support of the recruitment procedure
  • Support of the procedure for applying disciplinary sanctions
  • Support of the procedure for termination of employment contracts
  • Providing assistance in the interaction of the employer with trade unions including representation of the employer in collective bargaining
  • Conducting legal audits of HR documentation for compliance with labour legislation requirements
  • Conducting internal investigations to identify cases of corporate fraud and other abuses by employees
  • Support of inspections conducted by the State Labour Inspectorate and the Prosecutor's Office in relation to employers

Labour disputes:

  • Assistance in pre-trial settlement of disputes with employees and trade unions
  • Representing the employer in collective disputes
  • Representing the employees and employers before court

Julia Paushkina
Attorney
Head of practice
Konstantin Astafiev
Partner
Attorney
Evgeny Metla
Associate

Consulting in the field of labour law:

Advising one of the major international air carriers on a wide range of issues

As the leading legal consultant to the largest international air carrier, KIAP's labour practice provided the full range of legal assistance for their Russian divisions.

In particular, KIAP employees have done the following:

  • developed the unified bonus policy applied by all representative offices in Russia;
  • prepared conclusions on changes in working hours and breaks for rest and meals depending on airline flights to a specific airport; on remuneration for night shifts; on the transfer of employees to another job, as well as their dismissal if they do not agree to be transferred;
  • provided advice on the issues of deducting from the salaries of operational managers who made errors in calculation, as well as on payment of daily allowances for employees on business trips in Russia and abroad;
  • developed a strategy for optimizing employee costs during the pandemic when the employer’s activities were almost completely suspended.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Development of an employment contract for a top manager of an international consulting company

An employer who had just entered the Russian market contacted KIAP with a request to formalize an employment relationship with one of the top managers who performs a significant part of their work duties on business trips or from home, and also to analyse issues related to the proper registration of their trips, reimbursement of expenses for them, assessment of KPIs and payment of bonuses for business travel days.       

To solve these issues, KIAP employees developed a draft employment contract, and also provided recommendations regarding the rework of intra-group documents related to business trips to ensure their compliance with the requirements of labour legislation.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Preparation of a legal opinion on wage indexation for a European game developer

In the course of fulfilling the obligation to increase the level of real wages, the employer had questions about whether indexation could consist of paying a bonus without increasing wages or vary from case to case based on various KPIs of employees, and how best to evaluate indicators for the purposes of proper implementation of indexation legislation.    

Having analysed relevant judicial and law enforcement practices, KIAP employees prepared a legal opinion. In this opinion the employer not only found answers to the questions posed, but also received practical recommendations on how best to conduct indexing taking into account business and restrictions established by law. 

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Unification of local regulations developed by the global leader in the field of cloud solutions for the Russian subsidiary

As a result of the acquisition of a Russian IT company, the international corporation had a need to unify commission programs for managers involved in business development. To check the compliance of the commission scheme developed at the level of the parent company with the imperatives of Russian law, the client contacted KIAP.     

Based on the results of studying the parent company’s policies governing the payment of commissions, as well as the existing HR documents of the Russian subsidiary, KIAP employees prepared an updated commission program that corresponded to the client’s wishes, and also made appropriate amendments to the current local regulations of the Russian division.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Checking and making changes to the bonus system of the global leader in retail marketing programs

The employer contacted KIAP for assistance related to checking the employee bonus system for compliance with labour legislation. The main purpose of the audit was to guarantee the payment of bonuses when employees of various departments (both directly related to sales and the back office) achieve predetermined indicators. Since the company’s previously existing policies had internal contradictions that allowed abuse from each party of the labour relationship, KIAP lawyers were faced with the task of developing high-quality local regulations that would encourage employees to perform their job duties in the best possible way.

Based on the results of the analysis of the current bonus system, KIAP employees proposed several alternative options for improving the system and minimizing the identified risks. After the proposed changes were agreed upon with the client, KIAP lawyers made appropriate changes to the entire employer’s HR documentation related to labour incentives.         

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Support of personnel procedures, inspections and investigations

Supporting the procedure for the termination of employment contracts in connection with the dissolution of the Russian division of an international corporation involved in financial consulting

Since the employer’s head office decided to dissolve the Russian division, KIAP employees accompanied the procedure for terminating employment relations, as well as transferring key employees to the company’s European branches.

The main problem of the project was to maintain a balance of interests of the employer, who wanted to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, and employees who wanted to use the employer’s desire for their own purposes in order to receive a higher severance pay.

Due to the assistance of KIAP, agreements were signed with all employees to terminate the employment contract on mutually beneficial terms.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Supporting the dismissal of a top manager of a European manufacturer of household appliances and the accompanying inspection by the State Labour Inspectorate

The conflict-ridden top manager who had increased protection in accordance with labour laws destabilized work processes and in every possible way “motivated” the employer to enter into an agreement to terminate the employment contract with the payment of significant compensation. In particular, in response to each order of the employer, the employee sent several counter requests, contacted the prosecutor’s office and the State Labour Inspectorate (SLI), and was prepared for lengthy litigation.

In order to terminate the employment contract and minimize subsequent challenges to the dismissal in court, the employer turned to KIAP with a request to develop and implement a dismissal strategy/

During lengthy negotiations with the employee, KIAP employees managed to sign an agreement to terminate the employment relationship on the terms proposed by the employer.

Participants: Konstantin AstafievJulia Paushkina

Supporting the procedure of the dismissal of a European corporation’s foreign employee for disclosing a trade secret

One of the company's foreign employees was caught revealing trade secrets. In response to this, the employer decided to dismiss the employee as quickly as possible and obtain from them information about the person who ordered the illegal act and the exact amount of information disclosed. To solve the assigned tasks, the KIAP team was involved.

The dismissal procedure was complicated due to the fact that the employee’s employment contract contained a provision for the payment of significant compensation in the event of its early termination for any reason. However, due to the employee’s illegal actions, the employer was against making the previously agreed payment.

Having analysed all the HR documents available to the employer, including the employer’s business processes related to the protection of trade secrets, KIAP lawyers developed a dismissal strategy and held negotiations with the employee. As a result of such negotiation, the employee provided all the necessary information about the person to whom the trade secret was disclosed, and also signed an agreement to terminate the employment contract without payment of any compensation. The information received from the employee was subsequently used by the client to suppress illegal actions on the part of a competitor.       

Participants: Konstantin AstafievJulia Paushkina

Conducting an internal investigation in the interests of a European watch manufacturer and supporting the subsequent dismissal procedure due to loss of trust

The employer contacted KIAP with a request to conduct an internal investigation in relation to employees of one of the stores due to the fact that the number of processed product returns significantly exceeded the indicators of other similar outlets of the company. Based on the results of the internal audit, it was revealed that part of the funds collected from the store had not been transferred to the employer’s bank account, there was no primary documentation for returning goods from customers, and some of the inventory items were also missing.

With the assistance of KIAP, an evidence base was promptly collected and properly recorded. It confirmed illegal actions committed by store employees, the store manager was fired due to loss of trust, and several other employees were brought to disciplinary liability in the form of a reprimand, which made it possible to stop unfair practices and stabilize operating activities of the company as a whole.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Conducting a legal review of HR documentation in the interests of the largest hotel complex in Russia

Due to the large number of employees and, as a result, regularly arising labour disputes, the employer contacted KIAP with a request to conduct a legal review of HR documentation to determine its compliance with the requirements of labour legislation.

KIAP employees analysed the employer’s internal policies and regulations, employment contracts with key employees, as well as draft documents used to bring employees to disciplinary liability, conducted interviews with HR department employees on the practical aspects of implementing local regulations, and, as a result, prepared a report with identified risks and proposals for minimizing the same.

Participants: Konstantin AstafievJulia Paushkina

Labour disputes:

Supporting the dismissal procedure for absenteeism and representing the a Russian retailer before court            

The employee was absent from the workplace for more than two months, and brought a sick leave certificate opened in one regional hospital to confirm the validity of his absence. The employer doubted the validity of the sick leave and contacted KIAP with a request to assess the prospects for dismissing the employee for absenteeism and to support a legal dispute arising from dismissal on disciplinary grounds.

As part of the inspection carried out by KIAP specialists, it was reliably established that on the days of illness and supposed examinations by a doctor, the employee was not in the region where he allegedly received treatment, and deliberately false information was entered into the sick leave certificate. As a result, the employee was dismissed for absenteeism.

Considering the dismissal illegal, the employee appealed to the court. However, due to the position developed by KIAP employees and properly recorded evidence, the courts of three instances recognized the dismissal as legal.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Representing a Russian brand of youth clothing and footwear in a dispute with an employee dismissed due to failure to complete the probationary period

The employer contacted KIAP with a request to terminate the employment contract with the middle manager based on the results of the probationary period.

Due to the fact that the company did not have clear criteria to make an unambiguous conclusion whether the employee had passed the probationary period or not, KIAP lawyers were faced with the task of providing various types of evidence, including certified emails, to carry out the dismissal procedure in strict accordance with the labour regulations to minimize the risks of reinstatement of an employee at work through the courts.

Based on the results of the work done by KIAP specialists, the employee was dismissed. Employee considering the dismissal illegal applied to the court to protect their rights. However, the courts of two instances rejected the claims.

Participants: Konstantin Astafiev, Evgeny Metla

Representing the interests of the largest retail chain in a dispute with a top manager dismissed due to staff cuts

One of the client's top managers was dismissed due to staff cuts. The dismissal was preceded by several incentive payments based on performance results. The amount received by the employee was significantly smaller than they expected. Having disagreed with the dismissal and non-payment of the bonus in the maximum possible amount, the employee applied to the court.

The court of first instance satisfied the demands for employee reinstatement at work based on the conclusion that the employer did not comply with the pre-emptive right despite the fact that the employee held the only position according to the staffing table. The court refused to satisfy the demands for the recovery of the bonus but did not properly motivate their arguments stated in the decision.

Since the court’s findings created a very dangerous precedent for the employer, the client turned to KIAP to represent their interests in higher courts and at the pre-trial stage during the re-dismissal of the employee.            

Thanks to the legal assistance of KIAP and the proposed strategy for re-dismissal, the court confirmed the proper amount of the bonus paid to the employee, and it was possible to conclude an agreement with the employee to terminate the employment contract on market conditions, reducing the employee’s initial financial expectations by more than 10 times.

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Representing the interests of the major Russian supermarket chain in a dispute with an employee dismissed for repeated failure to fulfil job duties

The employer had a strained relationship with one of the employees, who was repeatedly subjected to disciplinary penalties and appealed to the court for challenging each order, delayed the terms of bringing to disciplinary liability by receiving sick leaves for several months, subsequent vacation, etc.

During one of the periods when the employee was not released from work, the employer who was confident that the employee had returned to work issued a dismissal order for repeated failure to perform job duties without good reason (the recruitment procedure established by the Labour Code of the Russian Federation was followed). The employee, who had a traveling nature of work, did not come to the office on the day the dismissal order was issued to familiarize themselves with it but the next day received the order and informed the employer that they were on sick leave. On the same day, a claim to declare the dismissal illegal and to reinstate them in their position was filed with the court.   

KIAP employees analysed the documents available to the employer, as well as judicial practice at the level of the region where the employee’s place of work was located, and during the trial they entered into a settlement agreement with the employee. According to the terms of the agreement, the employee withdrew their demands for reinstatement at work.   

Participants: Julia Paushkina

Representing a European holding company in the field of business aviation in a dispute with the Head of the Russian division

The parent company decided to dismiss the Head of the Russian representative office due to failure to achieve the set targets. Since the Heads of branches are not subject to additional reasons for termination of employment contracts as Heads of organizations, the client turned to KIAP with a request to assist in the conclusion of an agreement on the termination of employment relations and payment of market compensation to the employee. However, during the negotiations, the employee demanded severance pay in the amount of 18 times the salary but the employer did not agree.

Since the employee repeatedly violated labour discipline, KIAP lawyers developed a strategy for dismissing the employee for absenteeism, which was successfully implemented.

The employee considering the disciplinary action illegal appealed to the State Labour Inspectorate and the court. However, KIAP employees managed to confirm the validity of dismissal during administrative and judicial proceedings.

Participants: Konstantin AstafievJulia Paushkina

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