In-house counsel has to deal with a lot when it comes to a company’s global ambitions. Don’t try to wing it, keep this tip in mind instead.
By Nancy Cremins, General Counsel, Globalization Partners
A company’s expansion comes with myriad challenges for in-house counsel. Just when you think you have mastered the relevant legal provisions, your company hires in a new state, or Massachusetts passes the Equal Pay Law, or Washington, D.C. enacts paid parental leave, or yet another state or city adopts new paid sick leave or minimum wage standards.
When your company embarks on global expansion those challenges are compounded.
Global employment comes with infinite questions and, if done incorrectly, with expensive penalties. To mitigate these challenges and avoid legal penalties, an organization’s general counsel/in-house legal team should keep this concept in mind so that managing the process becomes as simple and efficient as possible.
Do (all) the research
Once you are aware that your company intends to hire in a new country, your next step is to do the proper research to get baseline information about the employment laws in your anticipated country of hire.
Both lawyers and HR executives have access to resource materials that will provide guidance as you think about where and how you retain global talent. For example, many HR professionals and some employment lawyers belong to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which has a section of its site dedicated to global HR.
Also, for those in-house lawyers who are members of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the ACC offers a robust resource for international legal affairs.
Other online resources are also available, including Globalization Partners’ GlobalPedia and numerous law firm blogs, which provide an overview of relevant issues to consider when hiring in a specific country.
Of course, once your company is an employer in a given country, you are obligated to keep up with changes in local employment laws. Make sure you sign up to receive alerts from these online resources (and from your local counsel) so you are contemporaneously informed of any relevant changes.