Employees should be on their guard when contemplating a secondment or assignment agreement and ensure that they understand through counsel what law applies and where a dispute can be adjudicated. On January 14, the Second Circuit in Martinez v. Bloomberg LP affirmed the dismissal of an employee's discrimination claims for improper venue, underscoring the enforceability - and importance - of international forum selection and choice of law clauses in cross-border employment agreements. The court held that an American employee's discrimination claims could only be adjudicated in London under English law, as his employment agreement prescribed.
In a decision dated August 10, 2012, a federal court in Manhattan ordered in Martinez v. Bloomberg LP, No. 11 Civ. 7514 (JMF) (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 10, 2012) that an American executive working overseas for Bloomberg LP was obliged to file his employment-discrimination case under British law in a U.K. court. Such cases point to a need for those choosing or assigned to work overseas to obtaining a lawyer's advice before signing on the dotted line.
In the past few years China has taken steps in its legislation that have made it more expensive for foreign employers and employees to do business there. The passing of the new PRC Social Insurance Law, which took effect on July 1, 2011 is just one of those steps. The new PRC Social Insurance Law requires expatriates working in China to pay a heavy tax burden to ensure that all employees in the PRC are insured with health and welfare benefits. However, since most international assignments do not last longer than an average of three years, these foreign employees may never reap the benefits of this insurance.