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Total Articles: 98

Littler Lightbulb: Highlighting Recent Developments Across Europe

Our European practice, spread across 13 offices in the region’s most robust economies, can provide a single point of contact for clients’ global labor and employment needs. Here we highlight significant labor and employment issues in seven European countries.

5 Common Issues Multinational Employers May Encounter When Implementing Leave Policies

For the purposes of talent acquisition and retention, multinational employers with U.S. parental leave policies may wish to roll out the exact same policies at all locations. However, this can easily turn into a tale of “no good deed goes unpunished” because certain provisions may run afoul of local laws and customs or inadvertently grant additional benefits. Below are several common issues multinational employers may want to keep in mind when drafting parental leave policies, as well as steps they can take to harmonize policies globally.

Brexit: An Update for Employers

As Brexit negotiations are coming to a head, companies may need to take stock of the current situation and strategize about how to maintain employment of current EU national employees and how to prepare for the post-Brexit landscape.

PODCAST: Going Global? Top 5 Labor and Employment Concerns for Multinational Businesses

In this episode, Diana Nehro, a shareholder in Ogletree Deakins’ International Practice Group, covers five of the most significant labor and employment concerns for multinational companies. Tune in for a discussion about managing the absence of at-will employment outside the U.S., cross-border investigations, globalizing policies, cost-effectively managing mobility assignments, and creating consistent global sales incentive plans.

Working Time and Commutes in France

France’s labor code does not ordinarily consider an employee’s commute as effective working time. When the commute’s length surpasses the usual trip between one's home and the workplace, however, the employee must be compensated with either time or money. This leaves room for questions regarding employees who are constantly on the move: Is their transit working or rest time? And should it be compensated?

4 Resources That Make GDPR Compliance Less Painful

The deadline to comply with the GDPR’s complex and far ranging requirements is rapidly approaching. As your organization races to implement its compliance program before the May 25, 2018 effective date, questions and concerns are likely to arise. While there is no shortage of online guidance on the GDPR, finding answers to your specific questions and concerns, and assuring those answers come from credible sources, can be daunting. But we’re here to help. Below are four resources that make the GDPR more accessible, thereby enabling you to more efficiently and effectively decipher your organization’s obligations.

Is Employee Consent under EU Data Protection Regulation Possible?

U.S. organizations that control or process the personal data of European Union residents likely are subject to the EU’s new data protection requirements, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR takes effect on May 25, 2018.

International HR – Offer Letters and Employment Contracts

When a US company decides to hire an employee in another country the question of whether to send the applicant an offer letter inevitably arises. Sending an offer letter prior to the final contract is normal practice in the US. But this is not the case in other jurisdictions, and for good reason.

SMART Working - Italy: New Flexible Working Opportunity

The International Employers Forum welcomed Anna Cozzi, Esquire, from Daverio & Florio law firm, to join a panel of international lawyers, including my colleague William Wright, to speak about changes in employment law around the world.

How to Know Which Jurisdiction’s Employment Laws Reach Border-Crossing Staff: A Comprehensive Guide to International Choice-of-Employment-Law and -Forum

For the vast majority of employment relationships around the world, choice-of-law analysis is a non-issue that we rarely ever think about. Obviously (for example), a Paris-resident baker working locally for a French bakery is protected only by French employment law. A Buenos Aires-resident banker working locally for an Argentine bank is protected only by Argentine employment law. And so on. Choice-of-law (also so-called “conflict of laws”) analysis in plain-vanilla domestic employment scenarios is so simple, so intuitive and so uncontroversial that it almost never comes up.

Ogletree Deakins International Video Series: At-Will Employment

In the final chapter of our four-part video series, Bonnie Puckett, of counsel in our International Practice Group, and Jean Kim, an associate in our International Practice Group, discuss the absence of at-will employment outside the U.S. Tune in to our five-minute video below, in which they cover considerations for U.S.-based in-house counsel who need to know how to structure—and dissolve—employment relationships outside the U.S.

Ogletree Deakins International Video Series: Cross-Border Investigations

In the second segment of our four-part video series, two International Practice Group attorneys, Diana Nehro, a shareholder in our Boston and Stamford offices, and Bonnie Puckett, of counsel in our Atlanta office, discuss challenges that cross-border investigations present for U.S.-based in-house counsel. Watch the video below for a brief discussion of the different rules and unique threats for in-house counsel to keep in mind when handling an investigation abroad, as well as best practices and data protection measures to consider.

European Court Limits Workplace Email Monitoring

In its recent Grand Chamber judgment,1 the European Court of Human Rights held that employers can monitor an employee's email only if they provide advance notice. By a vote of 11-6, the Court found that failure to provide such notice constitutes a violation of article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to respect for private and family life.2 This is the first time the Court has examined a case concerning the monitoring of an employee’s electronic communication by a private employer.3

Ogletree Deakins International Video Series: Top 5 Labor and Employment Concerns for U.S.-Based Multinational Businesses

In the first installment of our four-part video series, two of our International Practice Group shareholders, Carson Burnham, chair of the practice group, and Diana Nehro, a shareholder in our Boston and Stamford offices, discuss the top five labor and employment concerns for U.S.-based in-house counsel with operations abroad. Tune in for a discussion about managing the absence of at-will employment, investigating violations of U.S. laws abroad, globalizing discrimination and harassment policies, handling mobility assignments, and creating global sales incentive plans.

European Court Rules on Employee Monitoring Programs and Privacy

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued its decision in the case of B?rbulescu v. Romania (application no. 61496/08) on September 5, an appeal from a determination by the Romanian courts upholding an employee’s termination for personal use of the employer’s computer system.

How to Craft an Employee Handbook Outside the United States or Whether to Issue One at All

Most all major U.S. employers, and many smaller ones, have issued and periodically update employee handbooks—staff guides explaining how the organization’s particular workplace works. U.S. human resources experts almost unanimously recommend handbooks as tools for both running human resources and complying with the law.

The Next HR Data Protection Challenge: What U.S. Multinational Employers Must Do To Prepare for the European Union’s Impending General Data Protection Regulation

With summer holidays over and only eight months remaining in the two-year enforcement grace period, U.S. multinational employers and their European Union (EU) subsidiaries have little time to spare before starting to address compliance with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR or the “Regulation”), the EU’s new data protection framework. By May 25, 2018, the corporate group will need to implement new policies, procedures, and practices to address the GDPR’s many new requirements for handling EU employees’ personal data.

How to Launch an Employee Compensation, Bonus or Benefits Plan Internationally

Multinationals inevitably vary their employee compensation packages—their pay rates, employee incentives, bonus plans, benefits offerings—by country of employment. It is pointless to inquire into some multinational’s entry-level total compensation package for its managers, engineers, in-house lawyers, computer techs, punch-press operators, cashiers, secretaries, truck drivers or fry cooks without specifying their place of employment.

How to Launch an Employment Discrimination, Harassment, Diversity or Affirmative Action Initiative on a Global Scale

Equal employment opportunity initiatives—human resources policies, handbook and code of conduct provisions, compliance standards, training modules and dispute resolution procedures that address discrimination, harassment and diversity—have long been vital to U.S. employers. In the global economy, the equal employment opportunity issue has gone global. As American-headquartered multinationals align an ever-increasing list of human resources policies and “offerings” internationally, cross-border efforts at promoting workplace fairness have become increasingly vital, but also increasingly complex

Avoiding HR Pitfalls While Managing Overseas Assignments: Your 10-Point Checklist

More businesses than ever are sending people overseas. The rewards of developing new markets can be great, but the multitude of different legal systems mean there are also bear traps to be avoided—especially on the human resources (HR) and employment law side. Fortunately, most of these traps can be avoided by forward planning and ensuring the employment engagement is on sound footing.

How to Make Global Employee Communications Comply with Overseas Translation Mandates

The question of whether a multinational must translate employee communications overseas traditionally was not asked very often. Decades ago, multinationals ran their international operations as siloed units. Headquarters exercised little day-to-day oversight over foreign personnel matters and transmitted few if any messages or documents directly to overseas rank-and-file workers. In that era, a multinational's work orders to local laborers at a plant in, say, Montreal came from onsite Quebecois personnel administrators—in French.

Amendment to Japan’s Omnibus Data Protection Law Means New Compliance Requirements for U.S. Multinational Employers With Operations in Japan

Effective May 30, 2017, Japan amended its omnibus data protection law, the Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”), to add new compliance requirements that will have an immediate impact on many U.S. multinational employers with employees in Japan. As with the European Union’s recent revamping of its data protection regime through the General Data Protection Regulation, which will go into effect on May 25, 2018,1 the amendment to PIPA (the “Amendment”) is intended to update Japan’s data protection regime to address the rapid advance in information technology, the rise of the Digital Economy, and the massive increase in global data transfers. The Amendment is the first material change to PIPA since it was originally enacted in 2003.

Trump Administration Notifies Congress of Intent to Renegotiate NAFTA

The White House formally notified Congress on Thursday of the Trump administration’s intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The notification letter from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer marked the start of a 90-day window to consult with members of Congress on developing negotiation priorities before beginning formal negotiations with Canada and Mexico as early as August 16, 2017.

Mind the Gap: Automatic Work Authorization Extensions Help Foreign National Employees Stay Productive Following EAD Expiration

In the last months of President Barack Obama’s administration many regulatory changes were made that were meant to improve the functioning of the business immigration system, including changes to the process for Employment Authorization Document (EAD) extensions. One of the new regulations that went into effect on January 17, 2017, allows certain applicants for EAD extensions to continue to work in the United States with authorization for 180 days after the expiration of the previous EAD while the extension request is pending, as long as the extension was timely filed before the EAD expired. This change provides welcome relief for employers and employees caught in situations where an EAD extension request has been filed, but the old EAD expires before USCIS completes processing and approves the extension.

Top 10 Issues to Consider When Posting Workers in France

“Posting of workers,” a common practice within the European Union, refers to the assignment of an employee to work in another EU Member State (the "host country") on a temporary basis.1 Under this arrangement, also known as a secondment, the posted employee works in the host country but does not become fully integrated into the host country’s labor market.

The Top 5 International Data Privacy Issues for Employers in 2017

As employers catch their breaths after an action-packed 2016, they need to gear up for another turbulent year for international data privacy issues in 2017. The top five international data privacy issues follow.

So You’re Going Global! Five Employment Basics for U.S. Companies Expanding Overseas

Your company is doing well in the United States, and you are looking to expand internationally. That can be a very exciting time! But besides the practical logistics (e.g., Do I need to set up a subsidiary to hire someone overseas?), what fundamentals do you need to know before you take on an employee in another country? Once you grasp the basic differences between dealing with U.S.- and non-U.S. employees, you will foster smoother employee-employer relationships and prevent unexpected hits to your bottom line. Following are five points to consider as you hire and manage employees in other countries.

Use Data from the EU? It’s Time to Update Your Privacy Policies and Procedures

May 25, 2018. If you are a company that comes into contact with European data, whether you are operating in Europe or elsewhere, and you have not taken note of this date yet, you should. That is when Europe’s new data protection framework – the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – will enter into force, replacing Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC (the “Directive”). Building on the premise that the protection of personal data is a fundamental right, the GDPR seeks to protect the personal data of individuals in the EU and ensure the free flow of personal data between Member States of the European Union (EU) and in Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, which are part of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Public Comments on New Regulations for International Entrepreneurs Due by October 17, 2016

Public comment to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (USDHS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking creating a new "parole" immigration benefit for certain International Entrepreneurs is due to the agency by October 17, 2016. Once the comment period ends, the agency is required to consider all of the submitted comments before implementing a final rule. No applications will be accepted for this new immigration benefit until after a final rule is published.

The Privacy Shield: What U.S. Multinational Employers Need To Know To Enjoy The Benefits Of The Newest EU-U.S. Data Transfer Mechanism

Since the European Court of Justice declared invalid, on October 6, 2015,1 the Safe Harbor agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the European Commission for the transfer of personal data, hundreds of U.S. multinationals have been struggling to find an alternative while waiting hopefully for the Safe Harbor’s replacement. The Privacy Shield, effective as of July 12, 2016, may provide the alternative these organizations have been seeking. For U.S. multinationals that relied on the Safe Harbor to transfer human resources data from EU subsidiaries to their U.S. parent corporation, the Privacy Shield will seem familiar notwithstanding U.S. and EU officials’ public pronouncements that this new data transfer mechanism substantially enhances the now much-maligned Safe Harbor. Nonetheless, U.S. multinationals should consider several caveats before strapping on the Privacy Shield.

The Privacy Shield Is Finally Here

Earlier today the European Union and U.S. officials announced the final approval of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data transfer agreement (“the Privacy Shield”). Beginning August 1, 2016, organizations based in the U.S. will be able to self-certify their compliance with the Privacy Shield.

Mexico’s Collective Bargaining Freedom Protocol: An Introduction for Employers Doing Business in Mexico

In accordance with the International Labour Standards on Freedom of Association (enshrined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) Constitution, the ILO Declaration of Philadelphia, and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work) and the Mexican Political Constitution, Mexico’s Administration of Labor Inspection of the Labor Ministry has issued the Collective Bargaining Freedom Protocol measure, which, among other things, establishes the procedures and rules that inspectors of the administration will have to follow when conducting labor-related inspections at the worksites of employers operating in Mexico to verify the existence or absence of collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).

What Does Brexit Mean For International Employers?

On June 23, 2016, in a hotly contested referendum, British voters chose to leave the European Union in a contest dubbed “Brexit” (for “British exit”). It will take some time before the full implications of this decision become apparent to employers with operations in the UK.

Keep Calm and Carry On!

With the Brexit vote accomplished and the future of the UK in question, many employers with operations in the UK or the EU are questioning the application of existing privacy laws to their employees or subsidiaries there. For the meantime—at least according to the current U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK is treating privacy under its status quo rules: “The Data Protection Act remains the law of the land irrespective of the referendum result.” And even if the UK ultimately determines not to comply with the GDPR as a member of the EU, if it wants to trade with the EU, it will have to show that its privacy practices are “adequate”.

EU, U.S. Agree On Revisions To Privacy Shield

According to reports, the European Union and the United States have agreed on changes to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Privacy Shield) which will be sent to the EU member states and the college of the 28 EU commissioners ultimately paving the way for final approval early next month. “We have agreed on the changes and will be able to adopt it in early July,” said European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand.

New Agreement on Privacy Shield Set to Become Final in Early July

On June 24, 2016, the European Commission announced that it had reached a final agreement with the United States on the terms of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, which will permit U.S. companies to transfer the personal data of European Union (EU) citizens to the United States in compliance with EU data protection laws. The terms of the final agreement address several concerns raised by EU regulators about the initial Privacy Shield agreement reached in February of 2016, including concerns about the U.S. government’s ability to conduct mass surveillance of transferred data, the independence of the U.S. ombudsperson who will adjudicate complaints from EU citizens regarding misuse of their data, and the lack of protections regarding data retention and transfers to other companies.

Understanding Singapore’s Employment Act and Its Recent Amendments

As of April 1, 2016, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower is enforcing amendments to its Employment Act (EA), which was originally enacted in 1968 and revised in 2009. The amendments involve enhanced requirements for pay stubs, how to present employees with key employment terms in writing, and recordkeeping.

UK Votes to Leave the European Union: What Does This Mean for U.S. Companies With European Subsidiaries?

The people of the United Kingdom have spoken on the issue of whether the United Kingdom should leave or remain in the European Union (EU), and by a narrow margin have decided to leave. In fact, by region, the voters of Scotland and Northern Ireland and a large majority in the country’s economic powerhouse, London, (and most major employers and financial organizations), clearly wished to remain in the EU but have been outvoted in the referendum by parts of England which have not prospered in recent years, and which perhaps never recovered from the 2008 recession. Of the total vote, 51.9 percent voted to leave the EU and 48.1 percent voted to remain. Turnout was high at 72 percent of 45 million registered voters in a population of 65 million people.

International Protections for Transgender Employees

In the United States, the debate over protections for transgender employees continues, even as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, some courts, and the U.S. Justice Department take the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provides employment protection for transgender employees on a national level. In addition, many states, counties and municipalities have enacted their own laws protecting transgender employees in the workplace.

UK Modern Slavery Act Disclosure Requirements In Effect

The UK Modern Slavery Act, which was signed into law on March 26, 2015, is now in effect. In addition to setting forth muscular penalties and enforcement mechanisms to address practices including “slavery, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour” and “human trafficking”, the Act requires qualifying commercial organizations to publically disclose what actions they have taken to eliminate prohibited practices from their businesses and supply chains—or to disclose that they have taken no action.

European Parliament: EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Needs Further Improvement

Earlier today, the European Parliament passed a non-legislative resolution saying the EU Commission should go back to negotiating with the United States to remedy “deficiencies” in the proposed EU-U.S. Privacy Shield for EU citizens’ data which is transferred to the US for commercial purposes.

International Crackdown: Tax Authorities Look to Employment Structures in Initiating Audits

In structuring their workforces abroad, taxes are a major driving force for employers—and if recent government initiatives are any indicator, employers should take care when considering the tax implications of their staffing decisions.

[UK Law] Exploring the Employment Law Implications of a ‘Brexit’

On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) will hold an “in or out” referendum to decide whether it should remain a member of the European Union (EU). If the UK chooses to leave the 28-member European Union, one certain consequence of that decision is that the UK will have the ability to change a significant portion of its existing employment law, which derives from EU law.

Russia's New Personal Data Localization Requirements

Executive Summary: Employers in Russia and companies doing business in Russia should be prepared to comply with recently enacted requirements governing storage and processing of the personal data of Russian citizens, which are designed to provide additional protection for this data.

Potential Implications of Brexit [UK/EU Issues]

Britain and the EU have traditionally had a distant relationship, with Britain often choosing to keep an arm’s length from its continental partners. This inclination may soon become a political reality when the UK votes on whether to stay in the EU this June. In spite of this historical distance, many labor and employment laws in the UK such as those relating to maternity and paternity leave, discrimination, and work time bear the imprimatur of EU directives. Given Britain’s history with the European Union, it might appear that if the UK leaves the EU, changes in this area of the law will be broad and swift. However, the reality is that despite grumbling of bureaucratic red tape from Brussels, many of these laws have become integrated into British life, and should a “Brexit” occur, changes are likely to be gradual and narrowly tailored.

Historic FCPA Settlement Reflects Increased Regulatory Focus on International Anticorruption Issues Arising from M&A Transactions

Most employers already know that violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (FCPA) has serious consequences, including significant fines. Those potential fines just got even heavier. On February 18, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) agreed to a $795 million global settlement, the second largest in history, with VimpelCom Ltd., a company registered in Bermuda and headquartered in Amsterdam that is traded on the NASDAQ exchange. VimpelCom, a global telecommunications company, was found to have violated the FCPA because it made at least $114 million in bribe payments in Uzbekistan, which led to $2.5 billion in revenue.

Canada: Ontario Employers Have New Workplace Sexual Harassment Obligations

Bill 132, entitled “Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015” (hereinafter the “Bill”) has now been passed into law in Ontario and will be in force September 8, 2016. The Bill amends various statutes with respect to sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence and other matters. It amends various provisions of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Act”) and creates new obligations for employers surrounding the prevention, training, investigation and resolution of workplace harassment, particularly workplace sexual harassment.

European Commission Unveils EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Update)

Earlier today, the European Commission (the Commission) issued a draft “adequacy decision” as well as the texts that will constitute the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (the Privacy Shield). This includes the Privacy Shield Principles companies have to abide by, as well as written commitments by the U.S. Government on the enforcement of the arrangement, including assurance on the safeguards and limitations concerning access to data by public authorities.

EU-US Privacy Shield May Provide Guidance for Transatlantic Data Transfers

The decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to invalidate Safe Harbor in October 2015 sent shockwaves throughout the international business community. Safe Harbor was a certification mechanism that allowed personal data to be transferred across the Atlantic while guaranteeing that the personal data would be subject to the same protections as under EU law. More than 4,000 US based companies used this transfer mechanism. When the CJEU invalidated Safe Harbor, multinational companies were left wondering how they could now validly transfer employee information to their US affiliates.

New Safe Harbor Still Hangs in the Balance

The European Union Court of Justice’s invalidation of the EU-USA Safe Harbor for data transfers between the two continents remains subject to question at the end of this week after the European Commission blew its January 31 deadline to reach a new Safe Harbor Agreement with the United States. As we’ve previously posted, the continued invalidated Safe Harbor, which permitted the transfer of data from the EU to the USA and US companies where such companies could prove adequate safeguards to protect the data according to rules under the 1995 EU Privacy Directive.

EU Extends "Qualified" Moratorium on Enforcement Actions for Data Transfers to the U.S.

On February 3, 2016, the Article 29 Working Party, the EU body representing the data protection authorities (DPA) of each EU member country, announced that all of the DPAs across the EU have agreed to extend the current moratorium on enforcement action regarding transatlantic data transfers until they have had time to scrutinize the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data transfer program. EU and U.S. officials agreed to the Privacy Shield on February 2, 2016, to replace the Safe Harbor framework, which the European Court of Justice invalidated on October 6, 2015.

Canada: Court Orders Punitive Damages for An Employer’s Willful Mischaracterization of the Basis of a Termination

A recent case from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Gordon v. Altus Group Ltd.,1 serves as a reminder that employers should not exaggerate facts when asserting a defense of “just cause” termination.

Canada: New Employer Compliance Obligations under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 Take Effect January 1, 2016

A number of employment requirements set forth under the Integrated Accessibility Standards (“IAS”) will become effective on January 1, 2016. This will be the latest phase of the staggered implementation of the IAS regulations that were enacted under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (the “AODA”). Through the AODA, Ontario has enacted laws and standards to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, with the stated goal of having the province be fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. The IAS requirements – which are phased based on the size and type of the organization – can help Ontario employers make accessibility a regular part of recruiting, hiring, and supporting employees with disabilities.

European Union: Working time for workers with no fixed place of work

If you employ or plan to employ workers in the European Union who have no habitual or fixed place of work, you should be aware of a recent ruling of the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”). The ECJ determined in September that “working time” for such peripatetic workers includes travel time from home to the first designated customer and back home from the last designated customer.

Labor Provisions of the Just-Released Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement

This morning, the Obama administration released the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, setting up a bitter debate over its provisions next year. Foremost among the opponents of TPP, organized labor will closely review TPP’s “Chapter 19 – Labour.” The text of chapter 19 attempts to address organized labor's concerns by distinguishing TPP's labor provisions from what the administration now terms, in the summary to TPP’s labor chapter, the "weak" labor agreements and side letters governing enforceable labor standards in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) under the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation (NALC) and other free trade agreements. In what the administration describes as a "sea change" from NAFTA and other free trade agreements (FTA), it claims that the TPP establishes "a new global norm for labor rights" backed up by dispute settlement procedures and trade sanctions.

Mexico Establishes a Single National Minimum Wage

Mexico was divided into two geographical areas—Zone A and Zone B—for purposes of determining the minimum wage. The minimum wage in these zones was different because it depended on the conditions, economy, and lifestyles of the people from the different states of Mexico.

The Fallout from the Schrems Decision Continues

On October 14, 2015, the data protection commissioner from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein issued a position paper declaring that the use of model contract clauses by U.S. companies and European employees’ consent to transfer their personal data to the United States are invalid. This position paper, which comes on the heels of the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) October 6 decision in Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner to invalidate the legal basis for the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, is based on the same rationale as this groundbreaking decision.

EU-US Data Transfer Safe Harbor Ruled Invalid

In a decision sure to have widespread implications for over 4,500 US companies doing business in Europe and anyone else who accesses data from the continent, the European Court of Justice ruled yesterday that the 15 year-old data-sharing arrangement known as “Safe Harbor” is invalid.

What Does the European Court of Justice's Invalidation of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework Mean For U.S.-Based Multinational Employers?

n a landmark decision that will dramatically affect thousands of U.S. companies that transfer personal data from the European Union ("EU") to the United States, the European Union Court of Justice ("ECJ") yesterday invalidated the Safe Harbor Framework, which had permitted U.S. companies to comply with EU restrictions on the transfer of personal data outside the EU.

Mexico Supreme Court Issues Guidance on Outsourcing

The Second Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation in Mexico recently issued guidance establishing that outsourcing does not violate the constitutional principles of legal certainty and freedom.

European Court of Justice Invalidates European Commission’s Safe Harbor Decision

On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its much-anticipated decision in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, Case C-362/14. The case considered the viability of the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework, which has been applied to permit U.S. companies to transfer personal data regarding their employees and customers from the European Union (EU) to the United States in compliance with EU data protection requirements. The ECJ invalidated the European Commission’s earlier decision holding that the Safe Harbor principles provide adequate protection for personal data transferred from the EU to the United States.

Is the Safe Harbor Framework Still Safe?

On October 6, 2015, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will issue its decision in Schrems v. Data Protection Commissioner, Case C-362/14, which may invalidate the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor Framework. The Safe Harbor Framework permits U.S. companies to transfer personal data regarding their employees and customers from the European Union (EU) to the United States in compliance with E.U. data protection requirements.

Safe Harbor Judgment to be Delivered October 6th!

Following up on our last post from last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), moving at almost breakneck speed, has announced that it will be deciding the legal status of the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework on or before October 6. Although a decision was not expected for several weeks, the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the U.S. on this issue have very likely sped up the process.

In Canada, Foreign Workers Seek to Use International Norms as the Standard of Care in Negligence Claims Against Multinationals Operating Overseas

Non-Canadian workers are increasingly suing their employers in Canadian courts for human rights violations allegedly committed outside Canada by the companies themselves or by other entities in their supply chains. This development seems to be spurred by recent U.S. cases limiting the rights of workers and their representatives from bringing these claims in the United States.

President Obama Signs Trade Measures

It was not easily accomplished, but on June 29, 2015, President Obama signed into law a series of trade measures, including Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), providing the administration with rules governing the negotiation of international trade agreements. With the passage of TPA or “fast-track” trade authority, the administration has authority to negotiate trade agreements subject only to approval by Congress on a straight up-or-down vote, without amendment or Senate filibuster.

Employment Law in Colombia: Part II

This article is the second in a series which provides an overview of employment law in Colombia and will focus on laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace and remedies available to employees for violations of the law.

Business Travel to Australia with a Criminal Background

2015 marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and Australia. In 1940, the two countries established diplomatic relations following the United Kingdom's recognition of Australia's domestic and external autonomy within the British Empire. The United States and Australia continue to maintain a robust partnership.

Employment Law in Columbia: Part I

Columbia, a country located in the Northwest portion of South America, with a population of approximately 46 million, has started to overcome its reputation for drug trafficking and violent crime and has transitioned to a place many large international employers, such as Facebook, Starbucks, Google and Microsoft, are flocking to do business. According to the International Monetary Fund, Columbia’s economic growth is expected to triple in size from a decade ago and has become the fourth largest economy in Latin America. It is the only country in South America with two seacoasts and has developed a free market economy thereby attracting a wide range of markets in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. It is also known as providing among the best protections relevant to personal security and private property. Any employers currently doing business in Columbia or considering doing business there should be familiar with the laws governing the employment relationship in order to protect the company and facilitate success. This article will be the first in a series providing an introduction to employment law in the country.

Friendship, Commerce and Navigation Treaties and Title VII

On April 15, 2015, former employee Steven Heldt sued Tata Consultancy Services, Ltd. in United States District Court for the Northern District of California for discrimination. Tata is multinational corporation headquartered in Mumbai, India with 19 offices in the United States that provides consulting, technology, and outsourcing services. Heldt alleges that “approximately 95% of Tata’s United States workforce is of South Asian descent” as a result of Tata’s intentional pattern and practice of disfavoring employees not of that ethnicity in hiring, placement, and termination decisions.

Taking Care of Employees Assigned Abroad

So your company is expanding and, for the first time, you'll be sending key employees abroad to work in other markets. While the opportunities for expansion may appear limitless, so is your potential liability for failing to protect your employees from the myriad problems they may face while traveling on business. While some risks may appear obvious, such as the Ebola virus in West Africa, or kidnapping in Syria or fighting in Ukraine, there are other, less obvious risks such as an employee falling in the shower or suffering from a poisonous insect bite. In addition to personal safety risks, your employee could face border hassles or even detention for failing to have the proper travel documents, vaccinations or visas. As an employer, you have a legal and moral duty to protect employees from harm while traveling for business. A little advance planning can help you avoid or mitigate any emergencies that might occur.

Labor Contractors Can Make Dangerous Bedfellows: Part I

According to many sources, there is a shortage of unskilled workers in the United States that is only projected to worsen, and employers nationwide are feeling the pinch. From hoteliers to seafood processors, manufacturers to contractors, employers are often finding it more and more difficult to fill open positions. As a result, many employers have turned to foreign workers. But, let's face it - processing visa applications is complex and the penalties associated with the employment of unauthorized workers are too great. Looking for the easiest and most efficient solution, many employers have simply outsourced the hassle.

Spring: A Time for Change in UK Employment and Data Protection Law

Spring is always a time for new beginnings: the end of the financial year and the start of a new one, government election season, and time to advance clocks forward for daylight saving time. In the United Kingdom, spring also heralds new changes in employment and data protection laws. Below are some of the key changes to UK employment laws to be aware of.

New Requirements for Companies Hiring Foreign Workers Under Canada’s International Mobility Program

On February 11, 2015, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) issued amended regulations meant to enhance accountability for employers that hire foreign workers under the International Mobility Program (IMP), that is, those hiring foreign nationals who are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. The amended regulations are in line with Canada’s attempts to strengthen its immigration and work permit laws pursuant to the Economic Action Plan 2014 of the Government of Canada.

Resource Update: HR Strategies for International Same-Sex Secondments

With an increasingly global marketplace, companies are turning to international secondments and postings to place talent around the world. Planning an international secondment or placement is a complex undertaking, and a host of issues must be considered, from immigration to compensation and tax planning. Often overlooked in the planning process is the home and host country's treatment of same-sex marriage and protections based on sexual orientation and gender identification, and how such laws will affect an employee's placement. Tiffany Downs and Scott Wagner, attorneys in FordHarrison's Employee Benefits practice group, address these issues and suggest some best practices to help ensure successful placements in HR Strategies for Same-Sex Secondments Internationally, a two-part article published by InsideCounsel magazine and available on FordHarrison's Knowledge Base here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Russian Employment Law: Terms of Employment and Separation

This article is the second in a series of articles regarding Russian employment law. Terms of Employment. Under Russia’s Labor Code, there is a maximum 40-hour work week for employees, and less than that for certain types of jobs and workers, such as for employees working in dangerous environments or employees under eighteen years of age. The law also contains provisions pertaining to flexible job arrangements, such as virtual work and flexible working hours. Russia’s Labor Code was amended in April 2013 to set forth a number of new statutory provisions recognizing the growing existence of employees working in virtual locations. These amendments address many matters specific to remote workers, such as working hours and discharge reasons, as well as the communication of the employer’s hiring, termination and other decisions.

Data Privacy Law in the UK, Part III: Employment Background Checks and Monitoring

In parts one and two of this series summarizing data protection law in the United Kingdom, we looked at the data protection principles to which employers must adhere in relation to obtaining, holding, or disposing of personal data, including sending it outside the European Union (EU).

Data Privacy Law in the UK, Part I: An Introduction for U.S. Employers

The recent high-profile decision by the European Court of Justice involving Google has highlighted the existence of stringent data privacy laws in the European Union (EU). However, although the Google decision was groundbreaking insofar as it concerned a requirement that a search engine remove links to “irrelevant” or “outdated” information published by third parties (which could themselves continue to publish that information) it is only the application of the law that is new. The principles of relevance and accuracy themselves are fundamental principles of the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC as implemented in the United Kingdom by the Data Protection Act 1998.

Basics Of Employment Law In Italy: Part III

This article is the third in a series which provides a brief overview of the some of the key elements of employment law in Italy. This article will cover terminations, including a summary of the sources of law governing terminations, the types of dismissals permitted under the law, notice provisions and other procedures applicable to terminations and the manner in which employees can contest a termination decision. Given the intricacies and constant evolution of the law in Italy relevant to this area of employment law, it is increasingly critical for employers doing business in Italy to be aware of and compliant with the law in order to avoid liability and facilitate the overall success of the company.

Hong Kong: Embracing The Best of the East, and The Best of the West

In continuation of my article on Globalizing in Hong Kong in December 2013, let's discuss some of the practical implications and recent developments in Hong Kong's employment arena. Hong Kong is not just a pivotal financial center of Greater Asia with soaring towers and enigmatic business opportunities; it also embraces traditions and honors family-oriented values.

Human Resource Considerations In China

Annie Lau’s blog post "Human Resource Considerations in China," was posted on

Human Resource Considerations in China

When people think about the reasons they have left an organization or have not accepted an offer with a company, one of the key common factors is perhaps something one might not expect: development, or rather, the lack thereof. Compensation, while certainly important, is often not the deciding factor in the decision to work or stay somewhere.

U.K. Law for the U.S. Employer, Part III: Withholding Obligations and Immigration

The final post in this three-part series on U.K. employment laws covers the withholding and immigration obligations facing U.K. employers.

U.K. Law for the U.S. Employer, Part II: Discrimination, Data Privacy, and Termination Rights

Part one of this three-part series covered the basic principles of employment laws in the United Kingdom and the minimum benefits and rights to which employees are entitled. Part two covers a number of employers’ obligations and rights to which employees working in the United Kingdom are entitled, including the right to a discrimination-free workplace, data privacy and use provisions in employment contracts, and the right to notice upon termination of employment.

U.K. Law for the U.S. Employer, Part I: Basic Principles, Contracts, and Minimum Benefits and Rights

The United Kingdom’s and the United States’ employment laws differ in a number of ways. This three-part blog series summarizing U.K. employment laws will introduce U.S. employers to key concepts of the U.K. law that may be unfamiliar to them. It will also provide a brief overview of the key issues for U.S. employers to consider when engaging staff in the United Kingdom.


Italy, with a population of over 60 million, is one of the top ten largest economies in the world. There are many benefits to doing business in Italy, including its favorable geographic location and flexible and diverse economy. However, any employer currently doing business in Italy or who is considering doing so must be aware of the array of laws governing the employer-employee relationship including, but not limited to, the Constitution, the Civil Code, statutory law and contractual rules provided by national labor collective bargaining agreements. This article will be the first in a series which will provide a brief overview of the some of the key elements of employment law in the country.

Windsor & DOMA: Issues for Cross-Border Employers

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Windsor that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which defined “marriage” as strictly between opposite-sex couples and “spouse” as referring only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife, was unconstitutional. Given that there are hundreds of federal statutes and regulations using and giving effect to terms such as “spouse,” “marriage,” and other similar terms, this ruling has far-reaching legal implications. Employers and employees are particularly affected in a wide-range of areas—from immigration to employee benefits to taxation.

Netherland Antilles Employee Allowed to Continue Gender Bias Suit against Employer’s U. S. Sister Company

In a case that will certainly be of interest to multi-national companies with subsidiaries and affiliates in numerous countries, a New York Federal Court recently allowed a U.S. company to be sued by an employee of its sister affiliate in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles. On August 7, 2013, in St. Jean v. Orient-Express Hotels Inc., the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York held that a former manager of a St. Maarten luxury property could continue her discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against a New York company she alleged was her joint employer along with her employer in St. Maarten.

Manager Taken Hostage in China

As many have read in recent news, an American business executive was held captive by employees of his medical supply factory outside of Beijing. The workers were reportedly worried about wages, layoffs, and the factory closing. While not harmed (he was brought three hot meals a day and allowed access to his attorneys), the executive was not allowed to leave the factory for six days until he agreed to what he called the workers’ “unjustified demands.”

Employment Reform Law In Venezuela

Venezuela’s new labor law referred to as the Organic Law of Labor and Workers (“LOTTT”), became effective May 7, 2013. LOTTT establishes several critical labor reforms relevant to wage and hour requirements, maternity leave and pension requirements. All employers who are doing business in Venezuela or who are considering doing business in Venezuela should familiarize themselves with the specific provisions of LOTTT and review their current policies and practices to ensure compliance with the new requirements.

Employment Law in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom (“UK”), comprised of England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, has a population of over 62 million people, is culturally diverse and remains one of leading financial and service centers of the world. It is often considered the entry way to the rest of Europe and is a major international trading power. For these reasons, many companies decide to do business in the UK. This article will provide a brief overview of some of the basic employment and labor laws in the UK and will also introduce some of the most critical 2013 labor reforms.

US Executive Compensation In Ireland: The US Chamber Of Commerce Weighs In On The Income Tax Question

As reported January 28th in The Irish Times, the paper has obtained information using the Freedom of Information Act to discover that the US Chamber of Commerce has suggested that, to encourage them to live and work in Ireland, top executives working in Ireland should pay no more than twenty-five (25) percent of their total compensation in taxes including the universal social charge (USC). The Chamber has also proposed that that the present cap on the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP) be lifted. According to The Irish Times, “the chamber said high marginal tax rates were acting as a disincentive for attracting the best talent to live and work in Ireland.” Click here to view the article.

Justice Department and SEC Issue Guidance on Anti-Bribery Law

In November 2012 the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a 120-page “resource guide” to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The guide is important and useful for companies doing business outside the U.S. because it clarifies how the government determines when to hold an employer responsible for FCPA violations.

Employment Law in France: The Basics

France, the largest country in Western Europe, with a population of approximately 64 million people, and which borders eight different countries plays an integral role in Europe and the worldwide market. Given its central geographic location, highly developed infrastructure and qualified workforce, many companies around the world have chosen to do business in France. However, it is imperative that companies who are already doing business in France and companies who are considering doing business in France be aware of the country’s strict employment and labor laws as they apply to employment contracts, wage and hour, terminations and anti-harassment and discrimination laws. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief overview of some of the basic principles of employment law in France and to inform employers of recent developments in potential labor reform.

Employment Law in Costa Rica: A Country Protective of its Employees and Natural Environment

On January 9, 2013 it was reported in that the Costa Rican government has announced a new aggressive policy to attract foreign investment. According to the article, the government of Costa Rican’s President Laura Chinchilla Miranda, elected in 2010, stated that: 1) the national economy grew by five percent in 2012; 2) the Monthly Index of Economic Activity, however, predicts a slowdown in Costa Rica’s economy in 2013; and 3) in order to protect Costa Rica’s economy and its successful foreign investment policy, President Chinchilla and her government will implement an “aggressive campaign and policies to attract foreign investment and international trade." This article will provide a summary of some of the employment laws in that country for multi-national companies who are considering entering into business ventures in Costa Rica, or who are currently conducting business in this country.

Legal Alert: FCPA Resource Guide Issued

Executive Summary: On November 14, 2012, the Criminal Division of the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") and the Enforcement Division of the United States Security and Exchange Commission ("SEC") issued "A Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act" (the "Guide"). Although not binding on the DOJ or SEC, the Guide is very useful in detailing the agencies' enforcement approaches, interpretations and priorities.

Mexico Revamps Its Labor Law, Creating Increased Protection for Employees and Greater Clarity for Employers

On November 13, 2012, for the first time in 40 years, after extensive consideration by both Mexico’s House of Representatives and its Senate, the Senate approved a significant labor reform bill, with far-reaching and substantive implications for foreign companies doing business in Mexico and local Mexican employers alike. Mexico’s government stated that the purpose of this bill is to increase productivity and better paying jobs, while also allowing greater employment access for women and younger workers. Most of these changes will be familiar to U.S. employers, as in many ways they bring Mexican labor standards more in line with those that we are accustomed to here in the United States. However, employers that have been doing business in Mexico will find other changes more significant, such as the revisions designed to ensure more extensive coverage of Mexico’s Federal Labor Law (FLL) employee benefits, as well as clarifications to the procedural requirements for employment terminations in Mexico.

Mexico Revamps Its Labor Law, Creating Increased Protection for Employees and Greater Clarity for Employers

On November 13, 2012, for the first time in 40 years, after extensive consideration by both Mexico’s House of Representatives and its Senate, the Senate approved a significant labor reform bill, with far-reaching and substantive implications for foreign companies doing business in Mexico and local Mexican employers alike. Mexico’s government stated that the purpose of this bill is to increase productivity and better paying jobs, while also allowing greater employment access for women and younger workers. Most of these changes will be familiar to U.S. employers, as in many ways they bring Mexican labor standards more in line with those that we are accustomed to here in the United States. However, employers that have been doing business in Mexico will find other changes more significant, such as the revisions designed to ensure more extensive coverage of Mexico’s Federal Labor Law (FLL) employee benefits, as well as clarifications to the procedural requirements for employment terminations in Mexico.

Cross-Border Benefits.

Foreign companies with U.S. operations should be aware of the compliance requirements imposed by employee benefit laws (including federal tax laws and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA) in order to avoid the risks and liabilities that can arise either from litigation brought by employees, or as a result of government enforcement that could lead to excise taxes and penalties.
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