Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Americans working overseas
Still covered by US laws?

Risk Management Advice for HR

According to in an articled hededCQ Employees Who Work Abroad: Are They Covered by U.S. Employment Laws?, “just because an employee works beyond U.S. borders doesn’t automatically exempt him from the protections of the various federal employment statutes. This article provides a brief overview of the applicability (or inapplicability) of the major federal employment laws—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Equal Pay Act (EPA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)—to employees working abroad.”

Some of the U.S. laws apply even when the employee is working for an organization only controlled by a U.S. company.

According to the article from Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, , not everyone working outside the U.S.’ borders are protected by Title VII, ADAAA, and ADEA. Excluded from the laws’ protections are “non-U.S. citizens even if they’re working abroad for an American employer or a foreign corporation controlled by an American employer, and U.S. citizens working abroad for foreign entities that are not controlled by an American employer.”

    What is not clear to this scrivener are the protections available to a U.S. citizen employed initially by a foreign company operating in the U.S. , e.g., British Airways, RBC, Zim, who is transferred to a non-U.S. location.

Other U.S. employment laws that may apply include:

  • Fair Standards Labor Act (FSLA) – Does not apply (however local laws may apply).

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Applies only in the U.S. and any Territory or possession of the United States (however local laws may apply).

The above is concerned only with U.S. employment law. Employers must be cognizant of laws in force at the (foreign) place-of-employment.

  • Title VII prohibits discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin

  • The ADAAA prohibits discrimination based on disability.

  • The ADEA prohibits discrimination against individuals age 40 and older.

CAVEAT: Get advice from your own legal staff.
This blog’s author is not and attorney
nor does he play one on tv.

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