International Employment

The Fisher & Phillips International Employment Practice consists of attorneys experienced in providing legal advice to international employers on human resources and immigration matters (inbound and outbound) on a global basis, as well as on matters pertaining to employees working in the United States who are governed by international laws. We contribute to our clients' business success by helping them navigate through complex global human resources issues.

Our clients range from small employers just starting to explore international operations to large Fortune 500 companies with operations worldwide. We partner with our clients on strategic planning, compliance, global movement of employees, and employee compensation and benefits.

International Employment

Our attorneys have experience in all aspects of employment law, benefits, and compensation issues, including:

  • Human resources, benefits, compensation policies, handbooks and procedures
  • Codes of business conduct and ethics
  • Successful hiring and recruiting practices
  • Expatriate/inpatriate matters
  • Employment, consultant, and severance agreements
  • Non-competition and confidentiality agreements
  • Implementation of equal employment opportunity and diversity programs
  • Employee performance management, discipline and discharge cases
  • Reductions in force, redundancies and site closures
  • Harassment and discrimination prevention and correction
  • Substance abuse testing
  • Investigations regarding fraud, business ethical infractions, Foreign Corrupt
  • Practices Act, safety, and alleged violations of law or policy
  • Complaint helpline protocol, procedures and training
  • Prevention of workplace violence and threats
  • Training for supervisors and employees on employment law, harassment prevention, diversity and other topics
  • Litigation and administrative actions
  • Mergers, acquisitions and other business transactions (including E.U. Transfer of Undertakings)
  • Current and evolving strategic employment law issues

Immigration Services and Immigration Compliance

Our Global Immigration Practice consists of experienced attorneys and paralegals dedicated to assisting companies and individuals with a wide spectrum of employment-related global immigration issues, including obtaining work visas for foreign workers coming to the U.S. for temporary employment and for both U.S. and non-U.S. workers transferring abroad or from one foreign company location to another for any length of assignment. We also offer a full complement of immigration compliance services.

International Labor

Our attorneys have experience in helping our clients address international labor issues such as: implementing policies and projects in consultation with unions and works councils on matters such as reductions in force, site closures, compensation and severance policies and investigation protocols; meeting with employee representatives on proactive, project and case-specific matters; negotiating successful collective bargaining and other agreements; and preparing employee communications.

Cross-Border Compensation and Benefits

Our international practice provides full support in the area of compensation and benefits, including the design and taxation of benefits and compensation payable to expatriates and globally-mobile employees. Our group regularly addresses questions involving benefits, compensation and tax issues for outbound U.S. citizens who will be working abroad and matters relating to third-country nationals working in foreign offices. Our work frequently involves reviewing the tax treaties, foreign pension, tax and employment laws and U.S. laws relating to U.S. citizens working abroad. We also have addressed issues related to inbound employees from foreign countries working in the United States. We help our clients prepare competitive compensation and benefits programs that may include bonus plans, severance policies, compensation analyses, and incentive practices compliant with local law and policy.

Data Privacy and E.U. Data Protection

Our attorneys have significant experience providing advice and assistance to multi-national and domestic employers regarding the complex issue of data privacy, including:

  • Preparing advice and managing projects to allow employers to conduct their employee personnel and medical data programs in compliance with worldwide country-specific and European Union Data Protection laws
  • Implementing procedures to allow employers to conduct cross-border performance management and compensation systems in compliance with international laws
  • Preparing agreements and other documents that provide greater latitude to employers regarding data privacy matters
  • Creating investigation and complaint hotline protocol in compliance with international laws

International Non-Compete and Trade Secrets

We have a global practice concentrating on issues of employee defection and recruitment, including litigating injunction and damages actions relating to covenants not to compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure agreements, unfair competition, employee raiding, trade secrets, duty of loyalty, fraud, economic espionage and unfair competition statutes. Our attorneys draft restrictive covenants internationally, and help clients worldwide develop and implement programs to protect competitive assets against employee defection, and to minimize risks when hiring from competitors. Practice group attorneys have experience as part of litigation teams, in conjunction with local country counsel, for international non-compete and trade secret disputes.

Fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Compliance

Our attorneys have experience managing allegations of fraud and FCPA violations globally, developing policies to prevent and address these issues, and create and conduct lively and interactive presentations for executives, managers, and employees on these topics to help ensure business success in this highly-competitive and regulated area.

International Professional Relationships

Our practice has established strong relationships with local counsel in jurisdictions on six continents. These relationships are strong and tested by our practice group members. We stake our reputation on them. We are ready to involve local counsel as needed through our group or provide a direct referral depending on our clients' preferences. Often, we will also coordinate with various international consulting firms instead of our clients engaging with them directly in order to maintain the benefits of the attorney-client relationship.

Our Global Reach

Attorneys in our International Employment Practice have handled matters for our clients in all areas of the world, including Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean Basin, Bermuda, Bahamas, Europe (including EU and Eastern Europe), Russia, the Middle East, Africa, China, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil, India, South Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia and the Pacific Islands.

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Our Firm's commitment to diversity is nearly a half-century old. Our first woman partner was Margie Pitt Hames, hired in 1962. She was soon joined by Dorothy Toth Beasley, now a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals. In 1973, Ms. Hames and Judge Beasley made legal history by being the first women attorneys to argue both sides of a case in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was Doe v. Bolton, a companion case to Roe v. Wade. Although both were at different firms at the time, Ike Fisher, one of our founders, referred to the historic argument as one of the proudest moments of his career.

Our goal today is to continue that tradition of inclusion, and expand upon it. We strive to recruit, hire, develop, retain and promote diverse attorneys and staff at all levels.

While this spirit of openness is engrained in our spirits, we have also formalized our efforts. We have established a Diversity Committee, composed of partners, of counsel, and associates from across the country, all of whom represent differences in ethnicity, race, gender, religion, lifestyles, backgrounds, and viewpoints. The Diversity Committee's goals can be summarized in five key initiatives:

  1. On-going firm-wide education on diversity issues and programs;
  2. Lateral recruitment, including a lateral hiring strategy designed to build a "critical mass" of minority and women attorneys across all experience levels of the firm;
  3. Retention and advancement, including the development of a firm-wide mentoring and training program that ensures support and development for all associates;
  4. Community outreach that will increase our support of and connection with women and minority-owned businesses, professional organizations and underprivileged communities; and
  5. Identification and recruitment of top tier minority candidates graduating from law school.
 Recruitment and Retention
Although we are proud of the number of women and minority attorneys at our firm, those numbers alone don't tell the whole story. Our emphasis on diversity is reflected in many other ways, including the way we recruit, our training and development programs, our flexible work-life policies, and our participation in activities across the nation.

We actively participate in diversity job fairs, including the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, which has led to our hiring several attorneys of diverse backgrounds. We also participate in the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) job fair, and regularly interview at law schools which boast a large number of minority law students. In addition, our network of recruiters specializes in finding attorneys of color.

Aggressively recruiting qualified women and minority candidates is just a start: we also make every effort to retain them. Our firm-wide mentoring system pairs each associate with a partner-mentor. In addition, each member of the firm's Diversity Committee serves as a liaison to one or more of the firm's offices to provide additional support and resources. The Committee members are also available to help associates with their questions or concerns.

We've developed comprehensive training programs that address not only specialized legal skills in the Labor & Employment law practice, but also general skills such as client communications and marketing – core skills for preparing associates to fulfill roles as partners and leaders.

We're proud that we have a long-standing part-time policy that is tailored to fit the needs of each attorney who requires a reduced schedule. We recognize and appreciate the importance of enabling all attorneys to continue their careers while balancing the demands of professional and family life. Our benefits cover domestic-partner relationships as part of our overall effort to value, respect, and assure equal treatment to all employees regardless of sexual orientation.

We also regularly sponsor and participate in a number of diversity initiatives in our communities and host in-office events for law students and young attorneys from diverse backgrounds. These events are designed to help young attorneys learn how to succeed as associates.

Finally, many of our lawyers are members of, and serve in leadership positions in local and national organizations that help promote diversity in the legal profession, including: the Corporate Counsel Women of Color; the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys; the annual Lavender Law Conference; the National Asian-Pacific American Bar Association; the National Bar Association; and the National Employment Law Council.

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