The Employment Law Review: Editor's Preface
For each of the past 11 years, we have surveyed milestones and significant events in the international employment law space to update and publish The Employment Law Review. Every year when I update this book, I reread the Preface that I wrote for the first edition in 2009. In that first edition, I noted that I believed that this type of book was long overdue because multinational corporations must understand and comply with the laws of the various jurisdictions in which they operate. I have been practising international employment law for more than 20 years, and I can say this holds especially true today, as the past 12 years have witnessed progressive shifts in the legal landscape in many jurisdictions. This 12th edition of The Employment Law Review is proof of the continuously growing importance of international employment law. It has given me great pride and pleasure to see this publication grow and develop to satisfy its initial purpose: to serve as a tool to help legal practitioners and human resources professionals identify issues that present challenges to their clients and companies. As the various editions of this book have highlighted, changes to the laws of many jurisdictions over the past several years emphasise why we continue to consolidate and review this text to provide readers with an up-to-date reference guide.
Speaking of changes, 2020 happened, and all of us were thrown into a world of chaos. Employers and employees entered a new world controlled and dictated by a novel coronavirus, one that spread at a rapid pace and required immense government intervention. The ways in which governments responded (or not) shed light on how different cultures and societies view, balance and respect government regulation, protection of workers and employee privacy. Employment practitioners around the globe have been thinking about and anticipating the Future of Work for a decade. But with the onslaught of covid-19, the Future of Work was foisted upon us. Covid-19 expedited the next decade of technological advancement and employer–employee relations, causing entire industries and workplaces to change in real time and not over the course of years.
Unsurprisingly, this year's text would not be complete without a global survey of covid-19. We have updated this 12th edition to include a general interest chapter that summarises some of the significant legislative and legal issues that the pandemic presented to employers and employees. This new chapter highlights how international governments and employers responded to the covid-19 pandemic during the course of 2020, from shutdowns and closures to remote working and workplaces reopening.
The other general interest, cross-border chapters have all been updated. The #MeToo movement continues to affect global workforces. The movement took a strong hold in the United States at the end of 2017, as it sought to empower victims of sexual harassment and assault to share their stories on social media so as to bring awareness to the prevalence of this behaviour in the workplace. In this chapter, we look at the movement's success in other countries and analyse how different cultures and legal landscapes affect the success of the movement (or lack thereof) in a particular jurisdiction. To that end, this chapter analyses the responses to and effects of the #MeToo movement in several nations and concludes with advice to multinational employers.
The chapter on cross-border mergers and acquisitions continues to track the variety of employment-related issues that arise during these transactions. The covid-19 pandemic caused significant challenges to mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Deal activity slowed substantially, negotiations crumbled and closings were delayed. Although uncertainty remains about when merger and acquisition activity will return to pre-pandemic levels, it appears that businesses and financial sponsors once again have begun to pursue transactions. Parties already have begun to re-engage on transactions previously put on hold and potential sellers appear willing to consider offers that provide a full valuation. Parties may have been motivated to close transactions before the end of 2020 in case tax laws change under the new presidential administration in the United States. In addition, it is likely that the covid-19 pandemic will change the art of cross-border deal-making. The content of due diligence may change because the security of supply chains, possible crisis-related special termination rights in key contracts and other issues that were considered low-risk in times of economic growth now may become more important. M&A-related contracts likely will adapt to the realities of the (post-)pandemic world. The times of a very seller-friendly market may be gone. Increased risks mean that buyers have a greater need for security. This chapter, and the relevant country-specific chapters, will aid practitioners and human resources professionals who conduct due diligence and provide other employment-related support in connection with cross-border corporate M&A deals.
Global diversity and inclusion initiatives remained a significant issue in 2020 in nations across the globe. Many countries in Asia, Europe and South America have continued to develop their employment laws to embrace a more inclusive vision of equality. These countries enacted anti-discrimination and anti-harassment legislation, and regulations on gender quotas and pay equity, to ensure that all employees, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, among other factors, are empowered and protected in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are still many countries where certain classes of individuals in the workforce remain underprotected and under-represented, and multinational companies still have many challenges with tracking and promoting their diversity and inclusion initiatives and training programmes.
We continue to include a chapter that focuses on social media and mobile device management policies. Mobile devices and social media have a prominent role in, and impact on, both employee recruitment efforts and the interplay between an employer's interest in protecting its business and an employee's right to privacy. Because companies continue to implement bring-your-own-device programmes, this chapter emphasises the issues that multinational employers must contemplate prior to unveiling such a policy. Bring-your-own-device issues remain at the forefront of employment law as more and more jurisdictions pass, or consider passing, privacy legislation that places significant restrictions on the processing of employees' personal data. This chapter both addresses practice pointers that employers must bear in mind when monitoring employees' use of social media at work, and provides advance planning processes to consider prior to making an employment decision based on information found on social media.
Our final general interest chapter discusses the interplay between religion and employment law. Religion has a significant status in societies throughout the world, and the chapter not only underscores how the workplace is affected by religious beliefs but also examines how the legal environment has adapted to them. The chapter explores how several nations manage and integrate religion in the workplace, in particular by examining headscarf bans and religious discrimination.
In addition to the six general interest chapters, this edition of The Employment Law Review includes country-specific chapters that detail the legal environment and developments of 42 jurisdictions around the world.
Covid-19 aside, in 2021, and looking into the future, global employers continue to face growing market complexities, from legislative changes and compliance challenges, to technological and societal forces that are transforming the future of work. Whether solving global mobility issues, designing employee equity incentives, addressing social media issues, negotiating collective bargaining arrangements or responding to increasing public attention to harassment or equal pay issues, workforce issues can affect a company's ability to attract and retain talent, or damage its reputation and market value in an instant. These issues have created a confluence of legal and business challenges that no longer can be separated or dealt with in isolation. As a result, every company requires business advisers who can address the combined business and legal issues relating to its multinational workforce. It is my hope that this text provides legal practitioners and human resources professionals with some guidance, best practices and comprehensive solutions to significant workforce issues that affect a company's market position, strategy, innovation and culture.
A special thank you to the legal practitioners across the globe who have contributed to this volume for the first time, including Cleber Venditti da Silva and Rafael Bispo de Filippis at Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados (Brazil), Vansok Khem, Samnangvathana Sor and Raksa Chan at DFDL (Cambodia), Laura Kottmann at Porzio Ríos García (Chile), Carol Zhu (China), Carlos Hernández Contreras (Dominican Republic), Jan Tibor Lelley, Julia M Bruck and Diana Ruth Bruch (Germany), Rahul Chadha, Savita Sarna, Manila Sarkaria and Natasha Sahni (India), Ohad Elkeslassy at Herzog Fox & Neeman (Israel), Misaho Takagi at Dai-ichi Fuyo Law Office (Japan), Fernando de Buen at González Calvillo, SC (Mexico), Ernesto Cárdenas and Iván Blume (Peru), Deanna Carmelli L Go at Villaraza & Angangco (Philippines), Olivia Baxendale at Deloitte LLP (United Kingdom). This edition has once again been the product of excellent collaboration, and I wish to thank our publisher. I also wish to thank all our contributors and my associates, Ryan H Hutzler (at Faegre Drinker), Anastasia Regne, Eric Emanuelson and Lina Goto (all at Epstein Becker Green), for their invaluable efforts in bringing this 12th edition to fruition.
Erika C Collins