Executive expatriate or secondment assignments offer career advancement, cultural awareness, and global business perspectives. Like any other work environment, employer-employee disagreements arise, and when issues cannot be resolved amicably, the parties may resort to formal litigation.
But as companies expand, relocate, merge, acquire, restructure, and divest, where to litigate workplace disputes and under what countries’ laws can change, contrary to provisions that many have been spelled out in an executive employment contract. For the expat, understanding enforceability, choice of law, forum, and venue is essential when weighing one’s options for seeking redress in the courtroom.
Choice of Law: Home Country or Host Country?
Every employment agreement should have a provision binding both the employer and expat employee to the specific sovereign law that will be applied if a dispute occurs. Sometimes, a single choice-of-law provision may govern all aspects of the expatriate agreement. In others, different national, state, provincial, or local laws may govern different clauses in the contract. Much depends on the governing law in the host country regarding a particular issue, and under what circumstances the host country will recognize a choice-of-law provision.