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Cote d'Ivoire

Employee Rights and Protections

Explore workers' rights and legal protections in Cote d'Ivoire


Article 81 of the Costa Rican Labor Code outlines the specific reasons deemed acceptable for employer-initiated termination of employment. These include:

Employee Misconduct

This includes repeated absences or tardiness without reasonable justification, disobedience or insubordination towards superiors, acts of violence, insults, or threats against the employer or co-workers, intentional or negligent damage to company property, and disclosure of confidential company information.

Inefficiency or Unsuitability

This refers to the demonstrated inability to perform job duties satisfactorily.

Economic or Organizational Reasons

This includes financial difficulties within the company and restructuring or downsizing that necessitates a reduction in workforce.

Notice Requirements

The required notice period in Costa Rica depends on the duration of employment. For 3 months to 6 months of employment, 1 week's notice is required. For 6 months to 1 year of employment, 2 weeks' notice is required. For 1 year or more of employment, 1 month's notice is required. The employer must provide the notice in writing, stating the reason(s) for termination if termination is with just cause.

Severance Pay

In case of termination without cause, an employee dismissed without a valid reason is entitled to severance pay calculated based on their length of service. If the termination is due to one of the grounds listed in Article 81, the employee is not entitled to severance pay. However, they are still entitled to unpaid wages, accrued vacation time, and a proportional share of their Christmas bonus.

Important Considerations

Employers must carefully document any instances of misconduct or performance issues that could potentially lead to termination. This documentation serves as crucial evidence if the termination is challenged. It is advisable for both employers and employees to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Costa Rican Labor Code to ensure full understanding of their rights and obligations.


Costa Rica has legal protections in place to guard individuals against discrimination. These protections cover a wide range of characteristics.

Protected Characteristics

In Costa Rica, anti-discrimination protections extend to the following characteristics:

  • Race and Ethnicity: Discrimination based on skin color, ethnic origin, or national origin is strictly forbidden.
  • Gender: Protection is provided against unfair treatment due to sex, including sexual harassment. Laws promoting gender equality, such as the Law for the Promotion of the Social Equality of Women, are enforced.
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not allowed. Initiatives like the National Policy for Sexual Diversity and Gender Equality are in place to uphold these rights.
  • Disability: The Law on Equality of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities ensures equal treatment and prohibits discrimination against those with disabilities.
  • Age: Discrimination related to age is prohibited in the workplace and other public spaces.
  • Religion: Discrimination based on religious beliefs is illegal.
  • Pregnancy: Women are protected from discrimination related to their pregnancy status.
  • Other: Additional characteristics, such as political views and marital status, may be protected under certain provisions of the law.

Redress Mechanisms

Victims of discrimination in Costa Rica can seek redress through the following mechanisms:

  • Internal Complaints: Employers are typically required to establish internal grievance procedures for handling discrimination complaints.
  • Labor Courts: Employees can file formal complaints with specialized labor courts. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security also plays a role in mediating labor disputes.
  • Ombudsman Office (Defensoría de los Habitantes): This independent human rights institution investigates complaints of discrimination by government agencies or public services.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers in Costa Rica have significant responsibilities to prevent and address workplace discrimination:

  • Zero Tolerance Policy: Companies must establish clear zero-tolerance policies against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Dissemination: These policies must be clearly communicated to all employees.
  • Training: Employers should provide regular training to employees and managers on recognizing and preventing discriminatory behavior.
  • Investigate Complaints: Employers are obligated to promptly and thoroughly investigate all discrimination complaints.
  • Remedial Action: If an investigation substantiates a discrimination claim, employers must take appropriate remedial action, which might include disciplinary measures or changes to policies and practices.

Working conditions

The standard workday is typically 8 hours, with a weekly limit of 48 hours. For jobs with mixed daytime and nighttime work, the maximum workday is 7 hours. Night shifts, defined as running between 7 pm to 5 am, have a maximum of 6 hours per day and 36 hours per week. Any work exceeding the standard limits is considered overtime and compensated at time-and-a-half (150%) of the regular hourly wage. Overtime is limited to 4 hours per day.

Rest Periods

Employees are entitled to at least a 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours of continuous work. Workers must receive a meal break of at least 30 minutes for a standard 8-hour workday. Employees are also entitled to one day of rest per week, typically on Sundays.

Ergonomic Requirements

The Costa Rican Labor Code mandates employers to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. This implicitly includes ergonomic considerations:

  • Workstation Design: Employers should provide workstations suitable for the employee's height and tasks to minimize repetitive strain injuries.
  • Posture: Proper work posture is important and employers may need to provide training.
  • Repetitive Tasks: Employers should structure tasks to minimize repetitive motion as much as possible.
  • Protective Equipment: If applicable, employers must provide the necessary protection for specific tasks, such as protective eye wear, gloves, etc.

While not specifically addressed in the Labor Code, Costa Rica has a National Institute of Insurance (INS - Instituto Nacional de Seguros). The INS sets more detailed health & safety standards that workplaces must adhere to, including ergonomic guidelines.

Health and safety

Occupational health and safety in Costa Rica are governed by a combination of laws and regulations. These include the Costa Rican Constitution, the Labor Code, the General Occupational Safety and Health Regulations, and Ministry of Health Decrees and Guidelines.

Employer Obligations

Costa Rican employers have a comprehensive set of obligations to ensure workplace safety. They must provide a safe work environment, train employees, establish Occupational Health & Safety Programs, report accidents and injuries, and comply with inspections.

Employee Rights

Workers in Costa Rica have several essential rights regarding workplace safety. These include the right to know about hazards in their workplace, the right to participate in safety committees, the right to refuse unsafe work, and the right to report safety violations.

Enforcement Agencies

Several Costa Rican institutions are responsible for the oversight of workplace health and safety. These include the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the Occupational Security and Health Office, the Occupational Health Council, and the Costa Rican Social Security Fund.

Employers who fail to meet their health and safety obligations can face a range of sanctions. These include fines, temporary or permanent closure of the workplace, and even criminal liability in cases of severe negligence.

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