Top 10 pitfalls in managing employment contracts as you go global

By Ute Krudewagen

The chief executive officer (CEO) of an emerging growth company called me a while ago, a bit shocked after having seen the employment contracts that had just been issued to a couple of new hires in Hong Kong. ‘How could they be longer than mine? Are you sure that is the approach we should take as we expand our operations?’

This CEO, like many US executives, employment lawyers and HR representatives, is accustomed to one- or two-page US-style at-will offer letters. But in many jurisdictions around the world, detailed employment agreements are not only customary and best practices but are simply required. In fact, as foreign companies expand into the US, we see the reverse phenomenon — foreign companies rolling out foreign-style employment agreements to US-based regular employees, thus losing the benefits of the unique concept of at-will employment in the US. 

Against this background, here are 10 important pitfalls to be aware of as you develop your global employment documentation…

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