4 Things to Know About Employee Security While Traveling Abroad

By Mark Wilson, Esq. on March 26, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Are employees in your company traveling abroad for work? Depending on how high up they are in the company, what industry you're in, and where they're going, robbery and kidnapping are genuine concerns. So, too, are natural disasters and diseases. Pretty much same as here, but with a different legal system to content with.

Don't worry, though; you can keep them safe! Here are four things in-house legal counsel should know about mitigating the risks to your employees traveling abroad.

1. First, just warn them.

It seems like such a simple thing, but merely making employees aware of travel risks is a concern for companies that want to limit their liability in the event of injury, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. In 2013, a jury awarded $41 million to a student who suffered brain damage after bitten by a tick on a field trip in China. The school had apparently failed to warn students about known dangers. Whoops.

2. Get professional help.

Several companies exist for the sole purpose of providing training and protection to corporate executives traveling abroad. Kidnappers see executives from big companies as good revenue streams because they're unfamiliar with the area and they have easy access to a few thousand dollars, which is all that kidnappers really want. In order to mitigate injury or loss to executives traveling abroad, it might be wise to find professional help, depending on where the traveler is going.

3. Accidents happen.

It's not just intentional conduct by third parties that creates problems overseas. Something as small as an injury can become a big deal when a traveling employee doesn't speak the local language and doesn't know the customs. For example, observes an article in Business Insurance, in some countries, a patient has to pay before a hospital will accept him or her for treatment. An employee who doesn't know that could be in real trouble if time is of the essence.

4. Have a plan in place.

Experts in human resources and insurance all agree that one of the first steps to keeping employees safe abroad is having a plan in place first. This includes protocols for what to do in the event of a crime, a medical emergency, or a national disaster. The company should have local contacts in every place it sends employees so that employees themselves don't have to bear the burden of figuring out what to do in a place they're unfamiliar with.

The moral of the story is that a contingency plan will go a long way toward keeping employees safe in the future.

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