Background - Practices (Details)

EU Employment Law


Our Belgian labor and employment lawyers help clients to meet the challenges of the modern workplace. We advise local clients on both individual and collective employment law issues and assist them with their social security and HR privacy issues. We also offer training (both online and in-person) on all aspects of Belgian and EU labor and employment law. We are experienced litigators and assist and defend our clients in all matters concerning employment-related litigation. We are perhaps best known for our work in the telecoms, pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, but we also serve clients from the airlines, retail, and consultancy services industries.

Our Brussels office labor and employment department works closely with colleagues in the U.S., Asia, and London in order to offer our international clients the global assistance they require (see Global Mobility and Cross Border Personnel Engagement below).

Individual L&E Law

We advise, assist and defend our clients in matters concerning all aspects of Belgian individual labor and employment law. We provide day-to-day advice on employment (related) agreements, termination agreements and negotiations, company policies, bonus plans, and work time regulations (flexi hours and overtime "on demand"). We tackle the problems of workplace harassment (#metoo), diversity and discrimination, workplace privacy, and pay and social security aspects (including regulatory matters). We help our clients negotiate their way around hot topics such as trade secrets and whistle blowing.

Collective L&E Law

We also advise, assist and defend clients across a wide range of collective issues, including the conclusion of collective bargaining agreements, trade union and work council issues, social elections, and protected workers’ termination issues. We provide our clients with assistance in case of collective conflicts involving strikes, the blocking of plant entrances and general labor unrest.


We are well known for our pro-active and flexible assistance to clients that are restructuring either at a national or international level: e.g., transfer of undertakings, collective dismissals, closure of all or part of an undertaking, and related social conflicts. We often work in conjunction with our Corporate and IP teams for these kinds of matters.


Outsourcing arrangements are a mainstay for business entities, large and small. Employee-related matters can be a major source of contention in global outsourcing deals and how employees are to be treated can impact the cost structure of the deal. We have significant experience advising multinational clients on the employment aspects of global outsourcing deals, including:

  • Reviewing and negotiating the global employee sections of outsourcing agreements.
  • Customizing the different approaches in different countries for the movement of employees resulting from the outsourcing.
  • Analyzing potential risks of terminations either as a part of the process for moving employees or in relation to the elimination of positions.
  • Formulating a strategy for informing and consulting with employees, works councils or trade union delegations, and government entities.
  • Assisting in drafting relevant employee transfer documentation to ensure both global consistency and compliance with local requirements.
  • For more information concerning the rules on outsourcing in Belgium, please see our chapter on Outsourcing in the Chambers and Partners Outsourcing Guide, 2019 version 2.

HR Privacy and Compliance

Since the mid-nineties, we have been closely monitoring both EU and Belgian developments in the data protection and privacy field and have advised both national and multi-national clients on related matters. We also have extensive experience in performing and coordinating global or EU-wide privacy audits and compliance projects, helping clients better understand their data processing, map the location and flow of the data and identify potential threats and compliance issues. We implement tailor-made privacy programs, which may include the drafting of privacy policies and procedures, standard contractual terms, notices, data transfer agreements and advice on security measures. An important part of our practice consists of advising clients on internet and e-mail monitoring, the use of cameras (in or outside the workplace) as well as on the use of social media in the workplace. For more information see our firm-wide Privacy and Cybersecurity capabilities.

Global Mobility and Cross Border Personnel Engagement

As an international law firm, we regularly deal with cross-border labor law issues. For international businesses wishing to set up an establishment in Europe, we offer a one-stop-shop for all their labor and employment and social security needs. Our Brussels office provides a full array of integrated legal services to help companies set up, manage, structure and develop their business in Europe. If the choice of location is Belgium we handle everything ourselves, in close collaboration with our clients’ legal department. We can also rely on our Crowell and Moring colleagues in London, the U.S., and Asia, and on our trusted and extensive network of local counsel across Europe, to ensure more broadly our clients’ European mobility.

We provide assistance related to work permits and professional cards, visas, residence permits and LIMOSA. We help our clients comply with EU and international employment, social security and tax regulations and practices, including multiple employment schemes and secondments.

More information on our global capabilities here.

Litigation Proficiency

Although our main aim is to avoid litigation and solve matters amicably to the benefit of all parties, litigation cannot always be avoided. Our lawyers are experienced litigators before the Belgian Labor courts.

A Personalized Approach

We favor a pragmatic and personalized approach. We take the time to get to know our clients and their needs. Our services are customized and goal-oriented. We regularly organize seminars and webinars on topical issues in the labor and employment field. We also publish FAQ brochures, client alerts, and newsletters with information on labor and employment-related developments, such as new regulations or collective bargaining agreements and notable case law.

Our Team

Our practice is led by Emmanuel Plasschaert who has over 25 years’ experience and , partner Evelien Jamaels (who focuses on global mobility, international employment, and restructurings).

“Crowell & Moring has a ‘strong practice both on individual and collective employment law.’” Legal 500 EMEA

“Noted for its ‘detailed and high-quality analyses‘ on a range of employment matters, Crowell & Moring regularly handles both individual and collective labour law disputes, as well as a number of HR advisory mandates and cross-border personnel issues, working closely with the firm’s US and London-based offices. Practice head Emmanuel Plasschaert is noted for his capabilities in restructurings and collective employment litigation, representing various Belgian and multinational companies before the domestic courts. Newly-appointed partner Evelien Jamaels is recommended for her broad industry knowledge.” Legal 500 EMEA

Emmanuel Plasschaert offers his experience working on termination, restructuring and employee incentive mandates. A client comments: "I like his expertise and pragmatic approach." Plasschaert also represents clients in employment litigation. Chambers Europe 'Emmanuel Plasschaert of Crowell & Moring LLP advises clients on employee benefits mandates, collective bargaining agreements and the hiring of non-Belgian employees. He also assists with the termination of individual employees. An interviewee reports that Emmanuel Plasschaert is a "very good litigator," and adds that he is "pragmatic in his approach." Chambers Europe