In Colombia, companies are not obliged to request authorization
from the unions to carry out downsizing processes.
However, it is advisable to review if the collective bargaining
agreements entered into with the unions include any obligation in
According to Colombian labor law, redundancy, economic reasons
and the fact that a role is no longer required by the employer will
be construed as unilateral terminations without cause giving rise
to the payment of a legal indemnity according to rules that depend
on the type of labor contract and the length of service.
However, Article 67 of Law 50 of 1990 states that if the number
of employees to be terminated exceeds the percentages calculated
upon the total number of employees as established in the chart
herein below in a six month period, the Ministry of Labor must
authorize the terminations.
Percentage calculated upon the
total number of employees
The Ministry of Labor usually authorizes massive dismissals when
the following situations are evidenced (i) the elimination of
procedures, equipment, work systems, production units to improve
productivity or quality thereof, or (ii) that the company is facing
a financial situation preventing it from fulfilling its
obligations, or (iii) that there are technical or economic
circumstances such as the deficiency of raw materials, or (iv) any
other similar event.
It is worth mentioning, that companies would not require an
authorization from the Ministry of Labor when the abovementioned
percentage is reached if a negotiation to terminate the labor
contracts by mutual consent is accomplished.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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