Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Thad McBride provided comments for an article in Law.com examining how foreign companies that are continuing to operate in Russia can continue to pay employees while world leaders are imposing economic sanctions making the transfer of funds into Russia difficult. Making the situation more tenuous is the possible retribution that companies or individual employees may face by the Russian government if the company ceases operations entirely.
“We’re trying to read the tea leaves of what the Russian government is most concerned about when they have threatened foreign companies that have halted operations or pulled out of Russia,” said Thad. “I’m just not that concerned that Russia thinks, ‘Oh, no, society is going to break down if people can’t buy Coca-Cola anymore.’ But they may be concerned that if Coca-Cola has … 10,000 employees in Russia, and all of a sudden those people are unemployed, that those people … are going to be a threat to social order.”
Ultimately, Thad said, “there’s a financial cost for a lot of companies to suspending or ending their Russia operations. But in many cases, I think this human cost is what’s brought it home more to our clients, and trying to just do whatever they can to protect employees there both in terms of ensuring they’re getting paid, but also just kind of protect them to the extent they can from any sort of legal harm or even physical harm.”
The full article, “Labor of Law: How Can Companies Pay Employees in Russia?” was published by Law.com on March 31 and is available online (subscription required).