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Does the ADA Apply to Foreign Employment?

Consultants' Corner: Volume 10, Issue 02

From the desk of Linda Carter Batiste, J.D., Principal Consultant/Legislative Specialist

Many U.S. citizens work for employers operating in foreign countries and of course many foreign companies operate within the United States. The following is a summary of when the ADA applies to foreign employment. The information is from: Enforcement Guidance on Application of Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act to Conduct Overseas and to Foreign Employers Discriminating in the United States.

The ADA applies to:

A. U.S. employers with 15 or more employees

    1. Conducting business in the U.S.

      a. U.S. citizen employees – yes

      b. Foreign employees – yes

    2. Conducting business in a foreign country

      a. U.S. citizen employees – yes, unless the foreign laws defense applies

      b. Foreign employees – no

B. Foreign employers with 15 or more employees

    1. Conducting business in the U.S.

      a. U.S. citizen employees – yes, when the discrimination occurs within the U.S., absent constraints imposed by treaty or by binding international agreement

    b. Foreign employees – yes, when the discrimination occurs within the U.S., absent constraints imposed by treaty or by binding international agreement

    2. Conducting business in a foreign country

      a. U.S. citizen employees – no, unless the foreign employer is controlled by an American employer or other covered entity and the foreign defense do not apply

      b. Foreign employees – no

For more information, see: Employee Rights When Working for Multinational Employers-Fact Sheet and The Equal Employment Opportunity Responsibilities of Multinational Employers-Fact Sheet.

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