Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Structuring Employee Mobility in a Global Workplace

By Barbara Roth, Global Co-Head of the Employment Group
By Bill Flanagan, Partner, Employment Group

Earlier this month, Hogan Lovells and the Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA) co-hosted a luncheon and workshop called “Minimize the Risks – Structuring Employee Mobility in a Global Workplace.”

This topic was very well received by the 50 or so in-house counsel who attended from companies such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, to name a few. We discussed how relocation of an employee from one country to another can expose the employer to liability in multiple jurisdictions, and how the structure of the relocation – such as temporary transfer, secondments, and local hire – can alter the potential liabilities in the event of a rupture in the employment relationship.

The presentation included an extensive checklist for those faced with these issues, including the need for the employer to:

  • • consider the human resources, legal, tax, and immigration aspects of the relocation;
  • • understand what employment laws may follow the employee cross-border;
  • • understand what laws of the host country may apply to the relocated employee;
  • • document the relocation appropriately – one size doesn’t fit all;
  • • consider choice of law and mandatory venue provisions for employee disputes; and
  • • realize that the end of the assignment or employment relationship poses the most significant risks, and prepare the relocation documentation to anticipate these risks.

This topic has become increasingly important and complicated because of the expansion of many companies into global markets. Many in-house counsel face these situations and benefited from the detailed discussion of guidelines they can follow.

We closed the workshop with a review of a sample assignment letter of a relocation of a U.S. employee to the United Kingdom.

Our fellow panelist was C├ęcile Neuvens, Associate General Counsel at International Partnership for Microbicides.

Hogan Lovells is the 2012 Global Forum sponsor for WMACCA, co-hosting five workshops that focus on cross-border, international matters of interest to the organization’s 2,000 in-house members.

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