The year 2023 followed the trend of 2022 and, once again, there was an increase in the number of new labor lawsuits filed. Last year, 3.5 million new labor lawsuits were filed, which represents approximately 3,2% of Brazil's economically active population (108.3 million workers).

As a comparison, in Spain, in 2022, 373,374 lawsuits involving labor disputes were filed, which corresponds to 1.6% of the country's economically active population (23.5 million workers).

In 2022 and 2021, the number of labor lawsuits filed in Brazil was 3.16 million and 2.88 million, respectively.

Compared to 2021, the number of new cases increased by 15%. Our expectation is that this percentage will be even higher in 2024 – either because, in a recent ruling, the Super Labor Court (TST) established that the amounts indicated in the initial labor claim do not limit any conviction or because labor courts will set in 2024 a mandatory thesis on granting free justice to employees.


The high number of cases has generated debates among members of the Judiciary. In view of the significant backlog of cases in Labor Courts, the president of the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Justice Luís Roberto Barroso, announced the creation of a working group at the National Council of Justice (CNJ) on labor litigation in Brazil. The objective is to better understand the factors that contribute to the intense judicialization in the country.

The most recurrent claims continue to be related to overtime payments, additional allowance due to work under unhealthy conditions, differences in severance pay and fines for late payment of these amounts, when not made within ten days from the end of the employment contract.

Despite the volume of cases, Labor Courts continue to be the fastest to judge claims: the average time for a first level decision is 191 days.

In just over a year (415 days), a second level decision by has already been obtained before the Courts of Appeals. In a little less than three years (1,044 days), a decision is usually obtained before the TST which, except in certain cases, is the last possible instance of appeal.

Increase in Assessments by Labor Authorities

The Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) also continues to be very active. According to the Labor Inspection Portal, the number of infraction notices issued grew by 1.4%, compared to 2022.


The five most fined matters were related to FGTS, registration and CTPS, Regulatory Standard 18 (which deals with health and safety at work in the construction industry) and rest.


Another important piece of data is the number of infraction notices involving discriminatory practices. In December 2023, the number of infraction notices on the subject grew a lot, from three in October to 40 in December 2023.


Regarding fines involving women's work, the increase in infraction notices is also visible as of October 2023. This growth may be linked, among other aspects, to the publication of the Law on Equal Pay for Women and Men (Law 14,611/23) in July 2023.

The trend is that infraction notices related to discrimination against women in the labor market will grow even more in 2024, due to the aforementioned law. In January 2024, the number of fines involving the topic increased by 58%, compared to December 2023.


The business activities with the highest number of infraction notices in 2023 were:

  • retail;
  • manufacturing industries;
  • construction;
  • lodging and food; and
  • transport.


The numbers above underscore the importance of companies aligning their internal practices with the requirements of labor law.

More than that: there is little point in encouraging a safe environment and taking care to avoid work accidents if the company cannot manage the delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to its employees.

The organization of documents, formalization of contractual changes, collection of employees' signatures on policies and the archiving of these documents are practices that should be as valued as supervising the performance of overtime.

Small procedural and governance adjustments can make a huge difference in labor lawsuits and inspections.

Investing in these management changes is a simple and effective way to reduce the exposure of employers who strive to comply with labor rules, in addition to avoiding the unpleasantness of a conviction or a fine that does not reflect the practices adopted by the company.