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Puerto Rico: Termination of employment

Original and updating authors: Shiara Diloné-Fernández, Elizabeth Pérez-Lleras and Anabel Rodríguez-Alonso, Littler

Summary

  • Under Puerto Rico law, an employer may terminate the employment of an employee recruited on an open-ended basis only for "just cause". (See General)
  • Neither federal nor local law requires employers to give employees advance notice of termination, or payment in lieu of notice. (See Notice periods)
  • Local statute stipulates the circumstances that may constitute "just cause" for dismissal - these relate either to the employee's conduct/performance or to the employer's operations/business. (See Just cause for dismissal)
  • If an employer dismisses a relevant employee without "just cause", the employee is entitled to receive statutory compensation from the employer, linked to the employee's length of service. (See Unjustified dismissal)
  • Constructive dismissal is considered to be a termination without "just cause", entitling the employee to statutory severance compensation. (See Constructive dismissal)
  • Various redundancy-related circumstances constitute "just cause" for dismissal, and a number of statutory rules govern selection for redundancy and the preferential re-employment of redundant ex-employees in the six months after their employment is terminated. (See Redundancy)
  • Private-sector employees are not required by law to retire at any age, and employers must not generally oblige employees to retire because they have reached a particular age. (See Retirement)
  • Other than in cases of dismissal without "just cause", employers are not required by federal or local law to make severance payments when employees' employment is terminated. (See Severance payments)
  • Local law places few restrictions on "separation agreements", stating the terms of the termination and providing for the employee to receive severance benefits. (See Separation agreements and releases)
  • An employee who believes that he or she has been dismissed without "just cause" may bring a claim for severance compensation against the employer, while an employee who believes that he or she has been dismissed on grounds such as unlawful discrimination or retaliation may seek remedies including reinstatement and damages. (See Contesting dismissals)