Image of Mathias Vandenhoudt

Mathias Vandenhoudt

Senior Associate

Mathias is an employment lawyer who helps clients manage their workforce effectively and compliantly in a dynamic environment.

He advises on the employment and social security aspects of complex (cross-border) M&A transactions, reorganisations, hiring and dismissal practices and employee benefit schemes. He combines his employment law skills with his expertise in white-collar crime and investigations, assisting clients with social (criminal) law issues, internal and external workplace investigations, and whistleblowing matters.

Mathias is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion within our Belgian offices and across our global network, and serves on the Belgian DEI Committee.


Representative matters

A global provider of secure financial messaging services, on its entire whistleblowing (management) process, including the implementation of a new whistleblowing platform and policy in line with the EU Whistleblowing Directive and its national implementation in various jurisdictions, as well as the ongoing case management and investigations of reported misconduct across multiple jurisdictions.

Port of Zeebrugge on all the employment, social security and pension aspects of its merger with the Port of Antwerp, resulting in the Port of Antwerp Bruges. We attended and steered all important trade union meetings at Port of Zeebrugge and participated in meetings with Port of Antwerp and its outside counsel.

A Belgian company, on the employment, social criminal and general criminal law aspects of an internal investigation into toxic leadership, following media allegations. We assisted on the investigation process, risk assessment, board decision-making and disciplinary actions, including termination of employment.

A food delivery platform in respect of its day-to-day HR legal queries and a social ruling request by a candidate-collaborator (rider) with the Belgian Commission for Labour Relations in view of the new reclassification rules for platform economy introduced by the labour deal

A global tech company with the establishment of its Belgian employee representative bodies (works council and committee for prevention and protection at work).

A chemical company on all arbitration, litigation, contractual, employment, social security and (social) criminal law aspects following media reporting of human trafficking by a contractor at its construction site.

A global leader in advanced plastic piping systems, on various complex and highly sensitive C-level and senior executive exits, involving cross-border employment, corporate mandates, incentive plans, unfair dismissal and discrimination issues. We also assisted our client in developing a new template agreement for its intra-group personnel secondment structures.

A global tech company, in the framework of a bonus dispute with a former employee, providing feasibility and risk assessments, correspondence and negotiation with the employment tribunal and the trade union representative, drafting, concluding and submitting a settlement agreement.

A multinational company specializing in polyurethane foam products, on the employment aspects of the sale of its foams business to a US company. Our work included advising on the information and consultation duties vis-à-vis employee representative bodies, the implications of the transfer of undertakings rules, the complex split of the employee representative bodies and the negotiations with the trade unions, as well as the exit of its former CEO and the hire of its new CEO.

The Belgian Federal Public Service Policy and Support on the implications of Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union for training arrangements for statutory personnel. We also reviewed a draft Royal Decree to introduce training arrangements for statutory personnel.

An international dredging company on a number of high-stakes and sensitive employment matters.

A global healthcare company, in the context of an internal investigation on potential conflicts of interest and bribery at the procurement department in a tender process.

An international tech company after the escalation of employee conduct concerns that took place in the context of a Belgian-wide corporate event.

A Belgian multinational company specializing in polyurethane foam products, assisting in respect of the sale of its business to a US company. 

A private equity fund, on the employment aspects of the acquisition of a company in the technology and software business, including post-completion implementation.

Pro bono

Advising an organisation that provides accessible and diverse circus education for Brussels in a supportive and inclusive environment on a board member appointment and the design of their employee policies.

Advising a pro bono client active in animal wellbeing on the termination of employment of a managing director and the design of employee policies.

Assisting an organisation that works with orphaned and vulnerable children on the launch of a new project, which consists of a new form of foster care for minors. Mathias prepared the agreement for the foster-parents and successfully defended their social status before the Belgian social ruling commission. Mathias also frequently assists this organisation on sensitive HR issues, including sensitive dismissals.





Published Work

  • Bayart C., Vanderreken I., Franceus B. and Vandenhoudt. M., “Company Culture and DEI: A Need-To-Know for Directors of Belgian (Listed) Companies”, Guberna
  • Vandenhoudt M. and Permentier E., “Negatieve impact van veelvuldige afwezigheden: een geldige ontslagreden?”, Nieuw Juridisch Weekblad 2022, nr 467
  • Vandenhoudt M. and De Vreese J., “Rekrutering in de private sector”, Oriëntatie 2018/07
  • Vandenhoudt M. and Plets I., “Nietigheid bonusplan – Verhouding tussen cao nr. 109 en een sectorale ontslagprocedure”, Oriëntatie 2017/07

Speaking Engagements

Guest Speaker for Continental Europe, Next Generation Investigation Forum, February 2024

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

Member, Labour Law Association


Best HR & Employment law firm, HR Excellence Awards, 2023



Admitted to the Brussels Bar, 2016


Master of Law, Gent University, 2016

Swiss exchange programme, University of Neuchatel and University of Geneva, 2016 

Bachelor of Law, Hasselt University, 2014

A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.