Recent natural disasters like the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile as well as man-made crises like the attacks in Mumbai highlight the risks facing companies with employees living or traveling abroad and the importance of corporate duty of care.
Many organizations are not fully aware of their obligations with regard to duty of care, said Lisbeth Claus, a professor of global human resources at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management of Willamette University, in a recent webinar hosted by International SOS, a company providing emergency medical assistance and other services for traveling staff of client companies.
“The most common reaction I get, whether it’s from large multinational organizations, from global NGOs, or even government agencies that are sending people abroad, is: ‘I had no idea about the extent of my responsibility,’” said Claus, who is the author of a 2009 white paper commissioned by International SOS.
The white paper, titled Duty of Care of Employers for Protecting International Assignees, their Dependents, and International Business Travelers, explores an employer’s responsibilities with a review of pertinent legislation in different countries around the world. It identifies the responsibilities of different business areas and roles, and considers the topic from a legal, ethical, and cost-benefit perspective.
(Read the rest of "Putting Duty of Care on the Radar" from the May 2010 issue of Security Management here.)