The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) recently approved legal opinion number 2.a/J. 142/2013 (10a.) titled, "Resignation. If an employee objects to the contents of the corresponding letter, signature or digital signature, such employee has the burden of proof as to such objection." In this opinion, the Second Chamber ruled that an employee must prove, through proper evidence, his or her objections to the contents, signature or digital signature contained in the employment resignation letter offered as evidence. The foregoing is in accordance with Article 811 of the Federal Labor Law, in effect until November 30, 2012, which established that if the employee objects to the authenticity of a document regarding the above-mentioned issues, the parties may offer evidence as to such objections. This legal decision was issued in contradiction to a prior legal opinion and is pending publication in the Weekly Federal Court Reporter.
In addition to the weekly rest day, Mexico's Federal Labor Law establishes other days off, which are commonly referred to as mandatory days of rest or holidays. These days are declared as non-workdays based on patriotic, civic, political or religious events or occasions, in order to allow employees to attend public and religious festivities or ceremonies that are important to the community. Mexico's Federal Labor Law contemplates the following mandatory holidays: (i) January 1st, so that employees do not have to work on the day following New Year's Eve festivities; (ii) the first Monday of February, in commemoration of February 5th, which corresponds with the anniversary of the Mexican Constitution; (iii) the third Monday of March, in commemoration of March 21st, which celebrates the birth of Benito Juárez, who was president of Mexico; (iv) May 1st, which is given to employees in commemoration of labor day; (v) September 16th, in commemoration of Mexico's independence; (vi) the third Monday of November, in commemoration of November 20, in celebration of the Mexican Revolution; (vii) December 25th, for Christmas; (viii) December 1st, every six years, when it corresponds to the transfer of the federal executive power (when the new President-elect of Mexico is inaugurated); (ix) those determined by federal and local electoral laws in the event that ordinary or extraordinary elections are called in order to conduct an election. Importantly, in addition to the days indicated hereinabove, employers and their employees may agree on additional holidays or days off, whether in their individual labor contracts, in collective bargaining agreements, in internal work regulations or by means of company policy. If, due to the nature of the work of the company, continuous labor is required, employees shall agree with their employer as to which employees will render services on mandatory holidays. In the event they are unable to reach an agreement with respect to such, the conflict must be presented to the labor authorities in order for the same to determine which employees shall work on such days. Based on the foregoing, those employees who are required to work on a mandatory holiday shall have the right to receive payment, independent of their corresponding salary for the mandatory holiday, in an amount of double salary for the services rendered, which ultimately results in a triple salary (one for the regular work day and two for working on a holiday). However, it is important to note that when a weekly day of rest coincides with a mandatory holiday, the law does not require payment of double salary if the employee does not work on that day, given that the Mexican Federal Labor Law does not contemplate this situation and, therefore, employees are entitled to receive only their normal salary that corresponds to the particular day of the week. However, in the event a collective bargaining agreement provides for triple payment of salary when the weekly day of rest coincides with a mandatory holiday, the company shall be obligated to make such payment. Therefore it is advisable for employers not agree to such concessions, being that the law does not contemplate such and that they may become an unnecessary and excessive expense for the employer.
The most recent edition of the Mexico's Weekly Federal Court Reporter (August 2013) notes that the Fifth Collegiate Court in Civil Matters for the First Circuit has issued multiple opinions on the subject of piercing the corporate veil of a Mexican entity. Such opinions show a new trend that establishes, in essence, that an entity's corporate veil or shield of liability can be pierced when it can be shown that the use of such "business entity" is abusive, and that its sole purpose is to prejudice the rights of third parties. Business associations, whether their owners are other entities or individuals, have been a preferred vehicle to undertake speculative commercial activities. This is the case because of the advantages such business entities offer as vehicles for purposes of doing business, as opposed to doing business as an individual. When business is conducted through an individual, in the event of a default of a fiscal, commercial, labor or other obligation, the businessperson is personally liable and must respond with his/her personal assets, even though such personal assets have nothing to do with the business. One of the advantages of conducting speculative business activities by means of a business entity is that such are treated as separate legal persons, distinct and apart from the shareholders who own such companies, which have their own attributes and characteristics. This new trend adopted by the Fifth Collegiate Court is a novel approach, and interrupts the Mexican tradition of maintaining strict legal separation between business entities and their shareholders, which, as a consequence, opens the door to a field of study and reevaluation of the utilization of business entities for abusive purposes. The first precedent of piercing the corporate veil in Mexico corresponds to a binding jurisprudence decision published in 2008, in which this subject was discussed with respect to monopolistic practices. Now the Fifth Collegiate Court on Civil Matters for the First Circuit has reconsidered this and has issued a series of opinions relating to piercing the corporate veil in civil matters. Based on such, Mexico's administrative and judicial authorities are analyzing the legality of the activities and purposes of companies that are utilized to abuse the legal separation between entities and their owners in order to carry out fraudulent activities or to avoid legal obligations, and appear to be seeking to avoid the undue advantages companies may have in affecting the rights of creditors, third parties, the public funds and/or society.