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The New International Workplace and What Is Next

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V&E’s labor and employment blog is intended to examine the evolving New International Workplace and the laws that apply to it. Each week, we will discuss new labor developments, chronicling the changes in the modern workplace, and how employment laws are evolving and being applied to it.

What is the New International Workplace? The New International Workplace is something very different from the traditional workplace where each employee was principally assigned to a physical workspace in one location and was responsible for focusing on the company’s business in a limited jurisdiction. The New International Workplace is not confined to a physical office or country—it is wherever the worker connects via laptop, tablet, or smart phone to their employer and clients. For many workers, the workplace – where it is and what it is – changes from month to month or even day to day.

It should come as no surprise that labor and employment laws enacted with the traditional, one-desk, one-employee workspace in mind, have failed to keep up with this evolution, since the workplace is very different from what it was a mere 10 years ago and would be almost unrecognizable to a worker from 1996. Government agencies and courts throughout the world are struggling to interpret and apply laws enacted in the mid-twentieth century to situations with international scope and multi-jurisdictional reach. Some of these bodies have sought to reign in the New International Workplace. Others have sought to free it. All have struggled with the inconsistent and conflicting results of these attempts.

Throughout our discussions, we will not just be reporting on what has happened, but will provide our insights on where the law is evolving, and what companies should do to create an environment where workers and technology will operate in more harmony than discord. These insights stem from the diverse experience of our blog contributors, a group committed to sharing their knowledge in hopes of helping provide a comprehensive understanding of the workplace and everything impacted by it. Our contributors include lawyers in the U.S. and abroad, those with backgrounds in government, science, technology, and journalism, and those with decades of experience, and some who are just beginning. By bringing all of these pieces together, we hope to help our readers understand those ongoing changes and perhaps anticipate what will come next.

There will still be surprises along the way. Sometimes those surprises may leave us exasperated. Other times, surprises will encourage us by revealing the progress being made.

Hold on tight! This all could get very interesting.

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.