2019 kept US employers on their toes. From intensifying scrutiny of independent contractor relationships, data privacy changes, and hostility to arbitration agreements to continued pressure to examine pay data, increasing employee activism and politically charged discourse in the workplace, it has been a busy year!

For US multinationals operating globally, the challenges were compounded. While the use of contingent workers has always promised great rewards, keeping up with the evolution of local laws and socio-political agendas required multinationals to continuously manage shifting risks and adopt best practices. At the same time, global employers faced intense pressures to address pay equity globally, combat discrimination in all forms and maintain a respectful workplace (as that translates in local jurisdictions). All this while facing an uncertain economy.

Our Global Transactions Forecast, developed in conjunction with Oxford Economics, suggests that overall 2020 will follow a similar pattern to 2019 with macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty, putting a dampener on deal-making and slowing IPO activity. That doesn’t mean transactions activity has stopped altogether — far from it, as there have been bursts of activity this year and there will be again next year, arising from either strategic or tactical corporate decision making.

What does this volatile landscape mean for the global employer? It means, be prepared ... for anything and everything. Keeping a “steady hand” during these uncertain times will require US multinationals to be able to quickly identify key legal considerations, especially in places where there are often more employment and human resource challenges, determine the compliance impact on the organization and be prepared to make informed recommendations.

So, what is the vision for 2020? Certainly, it will be a challenging year for global employers, but our Employment Law Digest can provide a line of sight. To help you both get ahead and react with clarity, we have summarized the most important developments of 2019 and outlined key changes coming in the year ahead.

While we can’t predict the future, Baker McKenzie’s US Labor and Employment team can arm you with 20/20 vision needed to bridge the gap between aspiration and success in 2020.


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