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Q. Our company has employees stationed in locations outside the United States. A situation recently occurred that raised the question of whether U.S. employment laws apply to employees of American companies working outside the United States. Do they?

A. As a general rule, U.S. statutes do not apply to foreign workplaces unless the statute clearly and specifically says it does. The only U.S. employment statutes that specifically state that they will cover U.S. workers working for U.S. employers overseas are Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the ADA and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Because Title VII also applies to some aspects of pension plans, that means that certain portions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act also apply abroad.

Other labor and employment laws, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Equal Pay Act, the FMLA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the National Labor Relations Act, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) and Executive Order 11246, do not apply overseas.

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