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The movement of talent across borders must be carefully managed to ensure compliance with the requirements of both the home and host countries. We regularly advise clients, whether they are multinationals with an existing global workforce or start-ups sending employees abroad for the first time, in:

  • Structuring global mobility programs to ensure that the proper documentation is in place and all stakeholders have the opportunity to provide input at the appropriate time.
  • Engaging with finance, HR, benefits, immigration, tax and corporate to develop and implement strategies that best minimize risks.
  • Reviewing on an ongoing basis individual expatriate assignments for local-country compliance (e.g., employment, immigration, tax, payroll) within the context of the global mobility programs we put in place with our clients for consistent and seamless advice.
  • Identifying corporate structures to assess proper vehicle and business scope for personnel engagement and international expansion.

Outsourcing

Employee matters can be a major source of contention in global outsourcing deals and how employees will be treated impacts the cost structure for the deal. We have significant experience advising multinational clients on the employment aspects of global outsourcing deals, including the following:

  • Reviewing and negotiating the global employee matters sections of the outsourcing agreement.
  • Customizing the different approaches in different countries for the movement of employees resulting from the outsourcing.
  • Analyzing potential risks of terminations either as a part of the process for moving employees or as a part of the elimination of positions.
  • Strategizing on communications to employees, unions, works councils and government entities.
  • Assisting in drafting relevant employee transfer documentation to ensure global consistency and at the same time compliance with local requirements.

Mergers & Acquisition, Divestitures, Spin-Offs, Restructuring

Employee matters should be part of the risk analysis for every global M&A, divestiture, spin-off and restructuring given the potential for significant liabilities. Because of our deep knowledge and experience, we are regularly called to advise the deal teams in:

  • Identifying employee issues as a part of the due diligence process.
  • Assisting in formulating plans for restructuring and plant closures, including strategies for conducting redundancies and mass lay-offs, mutual terminations and voluntary separation programs.
  • Customizing and harmonizing compliance programs in a post-merger and acquisition environment around the special needs of the company, industry and individual countries, and then assisting the company in rolling out the program, including training local staff as part of the roll-out.

Local Law Risks

With our robust local network, we assist our multinational clients in managing local law risks by:

  • Working in over 40 countries to streamline global templates while maintaining compliance and consistency (wherever possible) across the globe.
  • Reviewing on a periodic basis employment agreements, handbooks, internal regulations and policies, procedures and benefits on a local level but within a multinational structure.
  • Providing day–to-day advice on various issues that arise, including but not limited to background checks, authorized signatories, offer letters, probationary period, disciplinary actions, independent contractors and third party dispatch arrangements.
  • Analyzing non-compete, non-solicitation, confidentiality and intellectual property assignment clauses or agreements for local enforceability issues.
  • Updating clients on new developments in local legislation.

Investigations and Compliance

Employees are usually the first point of contact when compliance issues arise. We are well-versed in a wide-range of compliance issues that employees come across on a daily basis, including ethics and bribery, data privacy, import and export, intellectual property rights and tax. We can quickly mobilize and form teams to assist clients in:

  • Conducting and coordinating investigations involving multiple countries and employees at different facilities.
  • Auditing specific units within the corporate structure for potential violations in response to whistleblower allegations.
  • Identifying gaps in compliance programs and procedures.
  • Providing practical recommendations in relation to specific employees involved based on our understanding of local employment law and practice.

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with approximately 550 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity and inclusion. The firm has offices in Brussels, Doha, London, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

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