Late 2011, SMI concluded its research project that looked at the legal framework regarding obligations in terms of duty of care/legal liability of non-profit employers towards their expatriate staff. The research had two tracks. On the one hand, it looked at current practice in the aid sector. On the other, in cooperation with A4ID, it obtained legal reviews from law firms in five countries, the USA, the UK, Sweden, Italy and France.
Results of this research were published in the SMI Policy Paper:
It was written by Edward Kemp and Maarten Merkelbach (SMI 2011) in collaboration with lawyers in the five countries mentioned above .
The paper concludes that the non-profit sector – e.g. aid, humanitarian and development -- is subject to the same basic legal ground rules and responsibilities as any other enterprise, be it, for example, corporate for-profit, public or media organisations. Obligations and responsibilities are mandatory by law, not optional. It follows, among other, that risk and security management is not only an operational issue, it is a governance issue. Non-profit organisations such as NGO’s are required to take this into account, including, but not exclusively, in their risk and security management.
Late 2012, SMI issued a follow-up Policy Paper with specific focus on Swiss law and implications of legal liability/duty of care for organisations based in Switzerland. This Policy Paper is issued in three language versions: English, German and French:
"Can You Get Sued in Switzerland?
Rights and obligations of companies and organisations regarding the responsibility to protect their travelling and expatriate staff.”
„Können Sie in der Schweiz verklagt werden?
Rechte und Pflichten von Schweizer Unternehmen und Organisationen gegenüber ihren Geschäftsreisenden und Expatriates“
« Pouvez-vous être poursuivi en justice en Suisse ?
Droits et obligations des entreprises et organisations suisses vis-à-vis de leurs voyageurs et expatriés »
This specific Swiss focus is relevant in view of the hundreds of (non-profit) organisations registered in Switzerland, notably in Geneva because of the UN presence there. It was written by Michel Chavanne, a Swiss labour law expert.
This Swiss-specific Policy Paper draws a number of conclusions and provides policy recommendations which are consistent with the cross-country review issued by SMI in 2011. Also in Switzerland employers must increasingly assume responsibility for their travellers and expatriates. This irrespective of whether it concerns a corporate, public, media, or non-profit organisation. Swiss legislation and case law regulating rights and obligations make little distinction as to the nature or goal of an organisation