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COVID-19 and Cross-Border Furloughs and RIFs Webcast

V&E counsel Chris Bacon will present “COVID-19 and Cross-Border Furloughs and RIFs” CLE program co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas International Law Section.

Most global human resources managers for multi-national corporations are well-aware of the challenges of terminating a poorly performing expatriate employee who has been working at a company affiliate outside of the United States. After all, it’s usually much easier to terminate employees in the United States because most non-union employees in the U.S. are “at-will” employees who can be terminated without cause so long as the decision is not motivated by unlawful discriminatory or retaliatory motives.

In many countries, no-cause layoffs are either illegal or the employer is required to pay separated employees a statutory severance. In addition to the usual concerns about the applicability of foreign labor and employment laws that employers must contend with when terminating a single employee, multi-national employers considering layoffs or furloughs of employees assigned to foreign affiliates will also need to think about other countries’ legal requirements for conducting reductions-in-force or mass layoffs.

U.S. companies with employees in other countries should also keep in mind that new laws have been enacted in many countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that might make it more difficult to terminate employees at this time. Any company considering layoffs or furloughs in another country should also consider whether governmental benefits are available to employers who retain employees, much like the United States Congress provided in the recently enacted CARES Act.

Some U.S. companies may want to repatriate expatriate employees for health and safety reasons depending on the extent that COVID-19 has affected, or will affect the countries where their employees are assigned, and on ability of those countries’ health care systems to treat any employee who becomes sick. A further challenge facing employers with employees in countries where the infection rate is growing exponentially is how to bring those employees home.

1 Hour of MCLE Credit

Schedule

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CT; 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET | Webcast

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This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.