Home / Practice areas / Managing Employees in Colombia

Beyond just hiring employees and independent contractors, local businesses will need a way to manage all applicable human resources/employment law obligations. Langon assists clients in managing all employee-related obligations in order to ensure compliance with local regulations, while minimizing overall risk to their businesses.

Our Employment Law Group provides assistance in all areas of employment law including, but not limited to:

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  • Internal Compliance:

Monitoring compliance with internal company policies, Employee Handbooks (“Reglamento Interno de Trabajo”), Employment Agreements (“Contratos Laborales”), Independent Contractor Agreements (“Contratos de Prestación de Servicios”), Confidentiality Agreements (“Acuerdos de Confidencialidad”), IP Employee Handbooks (“Manuales de Propiedad Industrial”) and other legal documents.

  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance:

Providing advice and ongoing assistance regarding applicable obligations impacting company employees including, but not limited to:

        • drug and alcohol testing policies;
        • compliance with wage and hour regulations;
        • discipline and discharge protocols;
        • employee misconduct policies;
        • treatment of employees with disabilities;
        • privacy protection regulations; and
        • health and safety regulations.
  • Hiring Employees:

Providing advice and ongoing assistance as new employees are hired by our clients.

  • Terminating Employees:

Managing the process of terminating employees pursuant to local law.

  • Employee Training:

Organizing and managing ongoing training sessions for company managers and employees intended to decrease overall company liability in connection with a variety of workplace issues including:

        • diversity and inclusion;
        • sexual harassment;
        • hostile work environment issues;
        • use of social media;
        • employee misconduct;
        • whistleblowing;
        • workplace discrimination; and 
        • substance abuse in the workplace.
  • Benefits:

Providing advice and ongoing assistance in connection with the management and implementation of benefits plans consistent with applicable law.

Corporate Structure

At a minimum, the S.A.S. form requires a shareholder and a legal representative. A board of directors is not required. An auditor may be required depending on the size of the company or the specific industry.

Legal Representative

Unlike other countries, the title of “legal representative” is crucial in a Colombian company. A legal representative will have complete access to the company’s books and bank accounts and will be able to bind the company when signing legal agreements. Keep in mind that the legal representative should be someone who is based in Colombia as legal representatives will need to sign documentation on a regular basis. This is why many foreign investors grant legal representation status to their local legal counsel or local manager.

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Corporate Flexibility

The S.A.S. form has a great deal of flexibility: (i) one person may own all the ownership interests in the S.A.S.; (ii) the same person can be sole shareholder, legal representative and manager; (iii) allows for the creation of a preferred stock structure; (iv) business may have a perpetual existence; (v) no obligation to maintain a reserve on its books (as is the case with other legal forms); (vi) no obligation to pay a minimum dividend (as is the case with other legal forms); (vii) no need to register a public deed in connection with its registration (as is the case with other legal forms); and (viii) allows for private mediation/arbitration for disputes between shareholders.

Registration Process

Registration via (i) written bylaws that are signed and notarized under Colombian law or (ii) written bylaws that are signed at the local chamber of commerce. Registration valid only after company is listed on the business registry (“Registro Mercantil”) of the local chamber of commerce.

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Company Name

You will have a great deal of flexibility when choosing the name of your company, though there are certain limitations. For example, the name of your company cannot be similar to the name of another company already registered. In addition, you cannot use certain names that are considered against “the public interest.” At the end of the name you need to include “sociedad por acciones simplificada” or the more traditional “S.A.S.”

Business Purpose

To register a S.A.S. you will need to specify at least one purpose for the company, though you can also add that it may conduct any business that is allowed under Colombian law.

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Limited Liability

The S.A.S. form grants shareholders broad limited liability. Note that the corporate veil may be pierced due to actual fraud and/or failure to maintain corporate formalities.

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Corporate Structure

At a minimum, the S.A.S. form requires a shareholder and a legal representative. A board of directors is not required. An auditor may be required depending on the size of the company or the specific industry.

Legal Representative

Unlike other countries, the title of “legal representative” is crucial in a Colombian company. A legal representative will have complete access to the company’s books and bank accounts and will be able to bind the company when signing legal agreements. Keep in mind that the legal representative should be someone who is based in Colombia as legal representatives will need to sign documentation on a regular basis. This is why many foreign investors grant legal representation status to their local legal counsel or local manager.

^
^
^
^

Corporate Flexibility

The S.A.S. form has a great deal of flexibility: (i) one person may own all the ownership interests in the S.A.S.; (ii) the same person can be sole shareholder, legal representative and manager; (iii) allows for the creation of a preferred stock structure; (iv) business may have a perpetual existence; (v) no obligation to maintain a reserve on its books (as is the case with other legal forms); (vi) no obligation to pay a minimum dividend (as is the case with other legal forms); (vii) no need to register a public deed in connection with its registration (as is the case with other legal forms); and (viii) allows for private mediation/arbitration for disputes between shareholders.

Registration Process

Registration via (i) written bylaws that are signed and notarized under Colombian law or (ii) written bylaws that are signed at the local chamber of commerce. Registration valid only after company is listed on the business registry (“Registro Mercantil”) of the local chamber of commerce.

^
^
^
^

Company Name

You will have a great deal of flexibility when choosing the name of your company, though there are certain limitations. For example, the name of your company cannot be similar to the name of another company already registered. In addition, you cannot use certain names that are considered against “the public interest.” At the end of the name you need to include “sociedad por acciones simplificada” or the more traditional “S.A.S.”

Business Purpose

To register a S.A.S. you will need to specify at least one purpose for the company, though you can also add that it may conduct any business that is allowed under Colombian law.

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^
^
^

Learning Center

Limited Liability

The S.A.S. form grants shareholders broad limited liability. Note that the corporate veil may be pierced due to actual fraud and/or failure to maintain corporate formalities.

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