Report Number

2004-009

Abstract

The question of whether U.S. employment discrimination laws apply to international employers is complex and involves multiple sources of legal authority including U.S. statutes, international treaties, and the laws of non-American host countries. This article provides detailed, simplifying guidance to assist employers in working through that complexity. Based on an examination of 98 federal courts cases, this article identifies and explains eight general guidelines for determining when U.S. laws apply to international employers (e.g., U.S. employees working abroad or “foreign” employees working in the U.S.). These guidelines are incorporated into an organizing framework or “decision tree” that leads employers through the various decisions that must be made to determine whether U.S. discrimination laws apply in a wide range of international employment situations. Guidance for IO psychologists who advise international employers is provided and summarized in terms of general recommendations and conclusions.

Date of this Version

2004

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