As a result of the approval in June of Act 41-2022, several significant changes were made to the 2017 Labor Reform[1] that expand private-sector worker rights. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that the Financial Oversight & Management Board of Puerto Rico filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico against Puerto Rico’s Government seeking to nullify Act 41-2022.  The result of this litigation may affect the amendments included in Act 41-2022 but, in the meantime, its provisions remain in full force and effect.  Accordingly, employers must implement the amendments, and keep abreast of any developments and Puerto Rico’s dynamic labor and employment law field.

Most of the amendments in Act 41-2022 directly affect business operations. However, others only have an effect when managing judicial and administrative claims. This article introduces an 8-part series where we will discuss some of the effects that these amendments may have in a court of law, and how to prevent and prepare for future litigation.

 Employment Contracts

Any doubts that may arise regarding the content of employment contracts shall henceforth be interpreted liberally in favor of the employee. Consequently, it is important to draft these contracts in a simple, unambiguous manner, within the legal context, for the benefit of both parties and to prevent judicial interpretation.

Likewise, this liberal interpretation in favor of the employee shall apply to the policies and rules established by the employer unless the employer reserves the discretion to interpret them. In that case, the employer’s discretion will be recognized as long as the interpretation is reasonable within the operational context. Therefore, considering future litigation and to avoid judicial interpretation of internal policies that should only belong to the employer, such reserve should be included in any handbook, policy, or procedures for employees. After all, it is the employer who has first-hand knowledge of their operations and as such, the right to establish how they will be managed.

The content of this news alert has been prepared for informative purposes only and it is not, nor it is intended to be, legal advice, consultation or solicitation of any prospective client, nor a substitute for professional legal advice.  An attorney-client relationship with Voltaggio, LLC cannot be formed by reading or responding to this news alert. Such a relationship may be formed only by express agreement with Voltaggio, LLC.

[1] Act 4-2017

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