Extraterritorial Application of U.S. Employment Laws and Their Possible Conflict with Applicable Foreign Laws

    31 October 2007

    Imagine you’re a company operating outside the United States. You’re incorporated outside the United States. Your employees don’t work in the United States. In fact, they’ve never been to the United States. All of this makes it all the more remarkable to you when one day you receive a lawsuit brought by one of those employees against you in a U.S. court, asserting a violation of that employee’s supposed rights under U.S. employment law. You think to yourself, ‘‘This can’t be.’’ But as set forth below, you’re wrong: it can.

    This article summarizes the circumstances under which U.S. employment laws apply outside the United States, i.e., the ‘‘extraterritorial’’ application of U.S. employment law. Specifically, it addresses the U.S. employment laws that expressly apply to U.S. citizens who are employed by companies operating outside the United States.

    As published by BNA's Employment Discrimination Report, Vol. 23, No. 16, 10/24/2007.