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Labor-related Legal Challenges for Foreign Subsidiaries in the United States

As a human resources(HR) professional who has been working for multiple start-up foreign subsidiaries in the United States of parent corporations based in China for almost ten years, I have a deep understanding of the problems, difficulties, and situations that a foreign subsidiary faces when running a business and managing the local labor force in the United States. I work to reduce the conflict caused by differences between Eastern and Western cultures in the workplace. Nevertheless, only I or/and HR professionals of the foreign subsidiaries understand the issues and make an effort is not enough; better education of legal and cultural norms for the corporation itself and the expatriate managerial group is also key for the foreign subsidiary successfully integrate into the host country community. This is what my paper is written for and this is my motivation for writing this paper. Numerous scholarly articles or legal research papers may have explored this topic in various ways and analyzed many related case laws. However, these articles may be too academic for a group of targeted audiences to read through. The targeted audience of my paper is foreign expatriate managerial persons unfamiliar with U.S. labor laws and who have yet to recognize the severity of incompliance with U.S. labor laws. My paper discusses the relevant US labor and employment laws and typical labor lawsuits that the "predecessor pioneers" experienced in the United States workplace, analyze the reasons for the labor-related legal challenges that foreign subsidiaries always face in the United States, and recommends effective measures to minimize the risk of getting involved in labor lawsuits. I believe this paper is easier for the targeted audience to read and understand compared to other similar papers or/and articles.


As time passes, foreign subsidiaries still face many complex employment issues in the United States, and some of the problems are not easy to overcome, such as the language barrier and cultural differences, but we also admit that there are some progresses that have been made. For example, for the foreign subsidiaries I ever worked for, the first local employee they hired was an HR professional. They also recruited legal professionals for the company's policies and contracts draft when they established the subsidiary. It signals that these foreign corporations notice the importance and necessity of compliance with labor and employment law when operating businesses in the United States. Past experiences are painful but at the same time, it facilitates foreign MNCs' development. I hope my paper has provided the necessary data, information, cases, and suggestions in order to be a useful source for some foreign MNCs to share with and educate their expatriate managers. The goal is to help corporations and expatriates recognize the labor-related legal challenges they face and how to avoid these potential risks; accordingly, for their better understanding of how to manage their local workforce and build up a "labor-lawsuit-free" business in the United States.


2023 Spring Capstone Paper © 2023 by Mary Ma is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

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