Employment

Business conditions, labor sentiment, and new opportunities evolve swiftly in the growing economies of Southeast Asia. Tilleke & Gibbins helps employers navigate these shifting legal landscapes by providing advice on labor law and employment matters that is timely and time-tested, innovative and practical.

Our first goal is to help employers formulate long-term, yet flexible, strategies on conditions of employment, staff restructuring, labor-management relations, and other critical employment issues. By helping employers create a positive work environment, we help companies save recruitment and litigation costs, react to changing labor conditions, and attract and keep talented employees.

When conflict cannot be avoided, Tilleke & Gibbins brings or defends our clients’ employment claims in court. We combine the strength of our dispute resolution and litigation team with the expertise of our employment attorneys.
     
We offer the following services: 

  • Strategic Employment Advice: Conditions of employment, work rules and regulations, employment agreements, benefit plans, executive compensation, labor protection, workers’ compensation, social security, provident funds, and safety issues (contact: Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut)
  • Commercial Transactions: Issues related to labor expansion, contraction, and integration due to mergers, acquisitions, and restructuring (contact: Chinachart Vatanasuchart)
  • Labor-Management Relations: Conflicts in the workplace, strike management and control, lockouts, and labor demands (contact: Chusert Supasitthumrong)
  • Immigration: Work permits, visas, and permanent residence permits (contact: Piyanuj (Lui) Ratprasatporn)
  • Employment and Labor Litigation: Enforcement of restrictive covenants related to competition and trade secrets, termination of employment claims, and sexual harassment claims (contact: Sasirusm B. Chunhakasikarn)

Read about some of our recent victories below. We have:

  • Assisted a client in its global restructuring, which required a reduction in the headcount of its Thai operations. The client sought our expertise in reducing the number of employees, while avoiding the potential for litigation relating to unfair termination. We crafted a multi-tiered solution involving voluntary resignation packages that employees would happily accept. As part of this solution, we advised the client on strategies for communicating with its employees regarding the restructuring. Ultimately, the client met its goal in headcount reduction and continues to operate in Thailand.

  • Developed a restructuring strategy to effect proportionate employee terminations at the intermediate management level for a  multinational financial services company. The restructuring would also give greater responsibility to senior managers. This created the dual objectives of (1) negotiating fair severance packages for intermediate-level management personnel in the face of strict labor laws and (2) imposing greater work requirements on senior-level managers without incurring claims of effective termination. We were successful in implementing the changes without any employee objection, and today our client’s employee culture is much improved.

  • Negotiated a favorable settlement of a highly contested termination of a company director involving our client, the director, and the company of the spouse of the director. The dispute included two criminal cases and two civil cases (one of which involved a claim of THB 20,000,000). We successfully gathered evidence of the director’s misconduct and leveraged that evidence to secure a favorable settlement for our client.

  • Prevailed in a highly publicized termination case wherein the client sought court permission to terminate the president of a labor union based on her television appearance while wearing a controversial T-shirt. The president maintained that she had given such interview on her own time and that her actions were protected by the Constitution. Although she was supported by many NGOs, the court ruled in favor of our client.

  • Defended a leading apparel company in a THB 50,000,000 labor claim and in a criminal case brought against the client’s director. We prevailed in both claims brought by the client’s former HR manager.

  • Advised a global telecommunications company on various labor and employment matters. Among them, we helped this client to rationalize a broad range of global employment policies. In addition, we consulted on the many issues inherent to multi-jurisdictional expatriate employment matters.

  • Concluded a case involving an employee safety allegation by a governmental authority against a multinational corporation.

  • Planned the layoff of approximately 1,000 persons and created a multifaceted strategy to manage the response of the employees and the labor union. The labor union mounted a strong challenge to our client’s activities. Nonetheless, we successfully responded to the opposition and completed the downsizing of the company without any employee claim.

  • Represented a manufacturer in negotiations with a labor union on strike. We successfully negotiated the terms of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and, thus, expedited the conclusion of the strike. In the CBA, we secured favorable terms for our client and the return of certain management rights.

  • Advised a leading high-tech company on HR matters, including drafting labor contracts, registering new staff members, preparing documents for employment termination, and registering staff resignations.

  • Prevailed in a labor dispute wherein a managerial-level employee claimed that he had been wrongfully terminated and sought severance and other monetary entitlements. Representing the employer, we proved that the employee had in fact resigned from the company.

  • Planned and executed the layoff of 1,900 employees. Thereafter, 279 of the affected employees submitted claims against the client in the total amount of THB 300,000,000. We successfully proved that our client had cause to terminate its employees and that such was done fully within applicable Thai law, resulting in judgment in our client’s favor. This was a high-stakes matter because, if we had lost the labor cases, the approximately 1,600 additional employees would have filed claims totaling approximately THB 2,000,000,000. We also act as ongoing labor compliance counsel.

  • Obtained a favorable judgment for the Thai affiliate of a leading animal health company in a case filed against a group of former executives who left to work for our client’s chief competitor. We secured this successful result even though there is still debate among Thai legal scholars as to whether noncompetition clauses are fair to employees.

  • Advised a multinational computer components manufacturer in Vietnam on the labor and workforce implications of its acquisition of a key supplier’s manufacturing facilities.

  • Consulted an international logistics services company in Vietnam on employee transfer and retention issues arising from the acquisition of its logistics services subsidiary.

  • Advised, negotiated, and successfully concluded several executive separations for numerous top-tier companies in Vietnam. 

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Name Position Office

Chinachart Vatanasuchart

T:+66 2653 5688

E-mail

Partner
Bangkok

Chusert Supasitthumrong

T:+66 2653 5793

E-mail

Partner
Bangkok

John King

T:+66 2653 5502

E-mail

Partner
Bangkok

Michael K. Lee

T:+84 8 3936 2069

E-mail

Partner
Ho Chi Minh City

Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut

T:+66 2653 5588

E-mail

Partner
Bangkok

Piyanuj (Lui) Ratprasatporn

T:+66 2653 5533

E-mail

Partner
Bangkok

Anake Rattanajitbanjong

T:+66 2653 5510

E-mail

Associate
Bangkok

Chitchai Punsan

T:+66 2653 5779

E-mail

Associate
Bangkok

Doan Ngoc Tran

T:+84 8 3936 2060

E-mail

Associate
Ho Chi Minh City

Ittirote Klinboon

T:+66 2653 5798

E-mail

Associate
Bangkok
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Date Title
March 21, 2008

Success by the Book

Darani Vachanavuttivong, Tiziana Sucharitkul

This article provides an introduction to Tilleke & Gibbins based on the firm’s winning the prestigious International Law Office Client Choice Award 2007 for Thailand.

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March 17, 2011

BRT Business Leaders’ Lunch

David Lyman

David Lyman, Chairman & Chief Values Officer of Tilleke & Gibbins, was recently invited to participate in the inaugural BRT Business Leaders Lunch. Held at the JW Marriott in Bangkok, the...

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December 17, 2010

Interview with Cynthia M. Pornavalai on Legal Reform

Cynthia M. Pornavalai

In this interview with Business Report Thailand, Tilleke & Gibbins partner Cynthia M. Pornavalai discusses the possibility of government reform to boost investment. Cynthia examines...

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April 28, 2011

Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut and David Duncan Present on Human Capital

Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut, David Duncan

On April 27, 2011, Tilleke & Gibbins partner Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut and associate David Duncan gave presentations on legal issues relevant to human capital as part of the Dataconsult...

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May 12, 2011

Tilleke & Gibbins Hosts Labor Law Seminar on Termination and Litigation

Chusert Supasitthumrong, Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut, Sasirusm (Roll) B. Chunhakasikarn

The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 by the World Economic Forum ranks restrictive labor regulations as one of the most problematic factors for doing business in Thailand. On May 12, 2011,...

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Date Title
December 20, 2010

Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets in Employment Law: An International Survey, Volume II – Thailand Chapter

Pimvimol (June) Vipamaneerut, John King, David Duncan

This chapter provides an overview of restrictive covenants and trade secrets laws in Thailand, with a focus on both the drafting and enforcement of these covenants. The chapter reviews governing...

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November 30, 2010

Renegotiating Employment Conditions in Thailand

Chusert Supasitthumrong

A key cause of labor unrest in Thailand occurs when employers try to implement changes in the workplace unilaterally, without realizing that their actions result in unlawful changes to legally...

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November 16, 2010

An Overview of Vietnam Labor Law

Thomas J. Treutler, Kien Trung Trinh

This article provides a comprehensive introduction to Vietnam labor law, including information on hiring an employee, maintaining the employment relationship, modifying the employment relationship...

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October 4, 2010

A Measured Approach

Chusert Supasitthumrong

Thailand has long been viewed as an attractive option for foreign investors in the manufacturing sector. The country has already positioned itself as a regional leader in automotive assembly and...

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July 2, 2010

Labor Relations: The Legal Significance of Strikes

Chusert Supasitthumrong

With worldwide publicity surrounding recent political protests in Thailand, renewed focus has been placed on the force and effect of protest movements in all facets of Thai society.  One area...

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