This article examines legal segmentation in five Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay) by drawing on the employment regulation typology developed by Dingeldey et al. (2022), based on three functions – standard-setting, privileging and equalizing. The author distinguishes between three factors of inequality and precarity: lack of coverage (namely of self-employed workers), discrimination and the circumvention of standards. Lack of enforcement, together with an unfavourable economic environment, results in informality. The analysis identifies different forms and levels of protection under standard and non-standard employment, as well as compensatory rules and other regulations seeking to eliminate inequality.