Corruption is an unmistakable reality in Latin America, but multinational companies can best do business there by adapting internal compliance policies to match evolving local rules, said lawyers speaking at Latin Lawyer's first Annual Labour and Employment conference.

Latin America's labour and employment lawyers have a role to play at every stage: in the due diligence procedures that precede M&As, in company compliance and in dealing with employees found to be corrupt. When it comes to spreading the anti-corruption message abroad, local labour lawyers tasked with enforcing compliance for multinationals must inject proceedings with "local cultural seasoning", said José Carlos Wahle of Veirano Advogados, so that employees, particularly expats, can fully understand the local legislation governing corruption and the consequences of violating them, both for the employee and the company. Training sessions should use specific examples that relate to the jurisdiction at hand, in order to make sure that the message gets across. "That's absolutely critical," explained moderator Mark Biros of Proskauer Rose LLP. "Because the fellow who's working in Brazil doesn't care about the FCPA, because he knows the likelihood that he's going to be prosecuted is close to zero – but he does care about the local cop on the ground."

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