Amidst the pandemic, China introduced a civil code—its first-ever compilation of civil laws detailing the rights of private parties. The code’s attention to sexual harassment provides another important reminder that even as workplaces focus on virtual workforces, social distancing, and other novel legal issues, workplace respect and inclusion remain essential to a well-functioning workplace.
What role can mobile technology play in a global employer’s return-to-workplace strategy? Employers exploring mobile apps to comply with new safety directives (for example, to facilitate contact tracing, symptom certification, or entry/exit logging) may wonder about how to implement them across operations globally—especially since the legal conditions on these apps vary greatly from country to country.
Now that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) acknowledges that employers may implement temperature screening measures in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, many employers want to conduct them, and want to know how to conduct them. In some locations, employers may even feel compelled to conduct them based on location-specific or general community mitigation guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
An employer’s response to COVID-19 involves numerous privacy issues. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about these issues within the United States and globally, based on laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (which applies in the United States) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While many of these principles can be applied globally, employers should always look to applicable local laws in their jurisdictions and guidance from public health authorities. Employers should also consult any applicable internal policies, data privacy notices, employee collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts, and individual employment terms.
As a complement to our frequently asked questions (FAQ) for U.S. employers, below are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the latest developments on the virus, guidance from applicable public health authorities outside the United States, and managing COVID-19 responses across multiple jurisdictions worldwide. For terminology purposes, these FAQs use the term “COVID-19” generally to refer to the illness that is the subject of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) pandemic declaration.
Employers across the globe, faced with the need to reduce the risk of workplace transmission of COVID-19, may be contemplating imposing standard temperature screenings on their employees. In many jurisdictions, an employer may need or want to consult with employee representatives (such as Works Councils in Europe or unions where applicable) or limit temperature checks to only those employees who consent. Even if temperature checks comply with local and national laws, instituting such measures may still present risks for employers, such as claims that the employer screened employees in a discriminatory fashion and mishandled the data from a privacy perspective. Temperature screenings may also pose employee and public relations considerations.
As coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, employers have been trying to strike a balance between safety and privacy as they apply their own policies and attempt to follow laws such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 in the United States.
Recognizing that Japan has entered a new phase in its fight against the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Japan officials announced a preemptive approach geared toward risk mitigation and slowing down the spread of the virus to prevent a spike in infections. This strategy, which includes strengthening testing and quarantining capacities, could have long-term impacts on employment practices, particularly in office-based environments in which technology provides more adaptive flexibility.
The outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (now designated COVID-19) caused massive disruption in China, including a nationwide extension of its Spring Festival holidays. Though February 10, 2020, was the last “public holiday,” some businesses remain closed, and many still encourage China-based employees to work from home.
As the world responds to the accelerating 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak originating in Wuhan, China—a situation now declared by the World Health Organization to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern—multinational employers, particularly those with employees based in or traveling to China, are assessing their role in managing workforce impact. In addition to taking precautions to prevent the spread of illness, employers are contending with government-imposed travel shutdowns and advisories, quarantines, border screenings, and extended holidays that may affect local operations and global mobility.
Last month, Japan’s restrictions on fixed-term employment contracts took effect, and employees with at least five years of service with an employer can now be considered indefinite-term employees upon the expiration of their fixed-term contracts, as long as the employees desire such status.
Happy International Women’s Day! At a time when women around the globe are proudly asserting their rights to be free from discrimination and harassment at work, here is a quick rundown of some laws in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region affecting female employees.
In the wake of increased international focus on karoshi—a common Japanese term meaning “death by overwork”—Japan’s government and business leaders alike agree that Japan’s “culture of overwork” is a critical issue in need of a solution.
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.
In the third video of our four-part series, international practitioners Diana Nehro and Bonnie Puckett return to cover anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules around the world.
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.
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.
International employers with operations in Asia often must undergo the cumbersome task of drafting “work rules” (essentially, a handbook) and filing them with local labor authorities—as is the practice in Taiwan, Japan, and Korea—but as of this year, employers can cull Thailand from the list.
No doubt walking a difficult line in the wake of the election results, human resources professionals are tasked with cementing their companies’ position as equal opportunity employers. At the same time, some female employees, employees with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, employees from different countries, and non-U.S. citizens working for U.S.-headquartered companies are feeling intimidated by news reports of hostility in the workplace. Some employees feel silenced and are afraid to take advantage of internal complaint procedures, decreasing the prospect for internal resolution.
France is world-renowned for its protection of employees against adverse employer actions, particularly unilateral terminations. Like virtually all other countries outside the United States, France does not recognize at-will employment, and French employers may not fire employees without justification that meets a stringent standard.
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.
Due to factors such as China’s rapid economic development, a disconnect between legislation and enforcement, the country’s historic reliance on personal connections (or guanxi) to do business, and idiosyncratic local regulations available only in Chinese, many Western-headquartered companies with operations in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) remain blissfully unaware of some unique risks. For example, local regulations imposed certain obligations on employers to provide small bonuses and accommodations to employees who presented a certificate of compliance with the one-child policy (now that the policy is being phased out as of 2015, the status of such perks is up in the air).
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.
In this series of blog posts, we have examined the use of independent-contractor relationships by multinational organizations. In our last three posts, we identified issues for global entities that are considering using independent contractors when expanding….
In our last two posts, we identified international legal implications of an independent-contractor relationship (Part One) and issues to consider before choosing an independent-contractor engagement (Part Two). In this, our third blog post in the Employee or Independent Contractor series, we will discuss key points for drafting an effective independent-contractor…..
In the last installment of the “Independent Contractor or Employee” series, we discussed what laws might apply and what problems you might encounter when using an independent-contractor engagement for your multinational organization. In this installment we pose questions to consider when determining whether an independent-contractor engagement is the best solution…..
Almost every organization expanding overseas needs a vehicle to explore the market before making the business decision to establish a legal entity, yet few legal vehicles are available for this preliminary measure. Most often, multinational organizations meet this need by entering into independent-contractor arrangements with individuals. While a useful vehicle…..
Okay, let’s admit it—plenty of us had absolutely no interest whatsoever in becoming tax specialists when we started law school. And so here we are, all these years later, serving as employment counsel to our corporate clients. But as many of you in-house attorneys know, your corporate “clients” consider you…..
The United States’ presence in transitional Iraq resulted in many opportunities for U.S. government contractors. Since the early 2000s, a significant number of U.S. government contractors have engaged individuals to perform work in Iraq, and sponsored visas for those individuals. In recent years, the legality of these arrangements largely was governed by an agreement between