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Crimean Crisis Highlights Employers’ Responsibility For Workers’ Safety Overseas

Houston’s workforce is unusually exposed to upheaval abroad.



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Houston is the headquarters for a large number of global companies. The downside is that it’s more exposed than most other major U.S. cities to dangers abroad, including political instability.

When a company sends an employee overseas, it’s responsible for that worker’s safety. Kevin Troutman is an attorney with the Houston office of Fisher & Phillips. He says one problem developing with regards to the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine, is selective law enforcement.

“Sometimes they have a lot of very demanding requirements that they don’t necessarily enforce that tightly, but as a crisis starts to develop, one of the things that may happen is they may begin to enforce their laws and their requirements more tightly, and that may be to the detriment of expats who happen to be in their location or their country.”

Troutman says it’s incumbent on employers to set up procedures for dealing with crises ahead of time, before sending workers overseas. Once a crisis develops, a company must be able to activate a team to manage that plan, and to keep in communication with endangered employees.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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