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International Employment Issues

Business success on an international level means success for both the employer as well as the employee and requires legal counsel with a worldview and the agility to manage expatriating and repatriating talent in every corner of the globe. We are adept at handling the basic processes, and drafting and implementing expatriate policies and procedures to ease employee mobility, as well as the more complex issues involved in negotiating multinational transactions and staying ahead of potential international disputes. We help U.S.–based and non–U.S. clients navigate through the document maze of work visas, work permits, employment agreements, and plan and direct logistics.

We help management teams understand the employment issues they will face in more than 22 countries. Our diverse experience enables us to advise a broad range of clients, including technology, financial services, and educational institutions. In addition, our work with energy industry clients extends our reach to almost 80 percent of the world. We stay up-to-date on geopolitical situations and pursue ongoing dialogue with diplomats and international organizations. Whether the goal is expansion or downsizing, we have the experience and authority to advise our clients on any international employment and labor matter they may face.

For more than 20 years, the Vinson & Elkins’ International Employment practice has cultivated a network of strategic connections in key markets and foreign capitals to help our clients with their global business operations and the responsibilities of managing a global workforce. With this network, our clients have the convenience of relying on qualified advisors who seamlessly manage employment issues, wherever they may be.

Experience Highlights

  • Represented a U.S. company in the formation of a joint venture involving the opening of production facilities in the U.S., Columbia, and Brazil

  • Advised a U.S. energy company on labor and employment matters related to the sale of assets in Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, and Ghana

  • Represented a Belgian software company sued in Texas state court by a Belgian employee alleging various contract and tort claims relating to stock options in the Belgian company’s U.S. parent company. The Texas Supreme Court reversed the lower court rulings allowing the case to proceed in Texas state court and dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction

  • Advised a financial advisory and investment banking client on labor and employment matters in transactions which involved employees in 22 different countries with unions representing those employees in five different countries

  • Advised a Danish drilling client in the start of their operations in the United States including training the company of labor and employment laws applicable to off-shore drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico

  • Assisted a large Mexican airline and a large Mexican food company in the establishment and operation of their U.S. businesses as to labor and employment relations

  • Represented a Virgin Island petroleum refining company in its appeal to the Third Circuit to enforce an arbitration agreement against employees of its contractors in the Virgin Islands. The Third Circuit reversed the ruling of the federal district court for the Virgin Islands and granted the company the right to enforce the arbitration agreement as a third party beneficiary

  • Represented a foreign-based cruise line in litigation concerning the application of U.S. laws to a ship’s operation and structure

  • V&E has counseled an Italian parent company in sensitive employment matters involving the officers and CEO of its U.S. subsidiary

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