The TRT-1 (Regional Labor Court of the 1st Region) yesterday annulled the court decision that determined the payment of compensation of R$ 17 million by the chain of steakhouses “Fogo de Chão” to employees fired during the covid-19 pandemic.
More than 400 workers lost their jobs in May 2020, after mass layoffs, motivated by the economic impact caused by the pandemic.
At the time of the layoffs, the Public Ministry of Labor sued the company because it understood that the mass layoffs could not have been carried out without a prior agreement and that because the steakhouse was a large chain, with restaurants throughout Brazil and even abroad, which would indicate the solidity in the face of the impacts to be caused by the pandemic.
In the first instance, in March 2020, Judge Mirna Rosana Ray Macedo Correa, of the 52nd Labor Court in Rio, determined that, in addition to indemnifying, the company should rehire employees in some locations, as in the case of Rio de Janeiro, which had around 100 employees laid off.
Subsequently, the decision was overturned by the 6th Panel of the TRT of the 1st Region, after the company appealed. In July of last year, it was the turn of the São Paulo Labor Court to authorize collective dismissal without prior notice. At the time, Judge Juliana Salles understood that in addition to the company having paid the pending severance payments, the 2017 Labor Reform extinguished the need for prior notice in situations like this.
Yesterday, the judges of TRT-1 understood the same way of the first instance of the Labor Court of São Paulo, adding that the change in the laws made mass dismissals equivalent to individual dismissals, not necessarily needing the notice with advance. The decision is valid for São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. Other states in the country have not yet been affected by the decision.
The Public Ministry of Labor can still appeal the decision.