Labor Courts Are Now a Reality in Mexico
On October 3, 2022, the last phase of the implementation of Mexico’s Federal Labor Law of 2019 (the “Labor Reform”) amendment became effective, and, consequently, a new labor process before the courts is now a reality in Mexico. The process is detailed below.
As the general rule, before raising any claim before the Labor Courts of the Judicial Branch, plaintiffs and defendants must go through a conciliatory/mediation process—which should not exceed forty-five days—before the Federal Conciliation and Labor Registry Center (FCLRC).
The objective of this process is to settle and avoid litigation that would otherwise overwhelm courts. If parties fail to reach a settlement, the FCLRC will issue a “no settlement” certificate that will be a prerequisite for filing a labor claim before the labor courts. Any disputes concerning (i) employment discrimination, (ii) the designation of a beneficiary, and/or (iii) occupational risks would be exempt from having to fulfill this prerequisite of the conciliation/mediation process.
Any litigation as of Oct. 3, 2022, will need to be filed before the applicable labor court. All labor boards will cease to accept new cases, but they will be resolving the existing ones under their review.
It is expected that employment litigation before the courts will be efficient and take less time. The litigation process will consist of only two stages:
Written stage. This stage consists of filing the claim and providing the defendant the opportunity to defend against/respond to the claim in writing. It is important to point out that, currently, plaintiffs are required to submit their evidence in their initial claims and defendants when they are replying to the initial claims.
Oral stage. This stage will be divided into two hearings: (i) a preliminary hearing, in which undisputed issues will be established and evidence will be admitted or dismissed and (ii) a trial hearing, in which any further action regarding evidence will take place, and closing arguments of the parties will be heard and a final resolution will be issued.
With the abovementioned, two of the three main structural changes of the Labor Reform have been accomplished. The third structural change relates to freedom of union association and is also being successfully implemented.