Rapidly evolving human rights standards continue to shape the expectations of government regulators, board members, investors, communities and other stakeholders. Recent years have seen a growing consensus on the role companies should play in respecting human rights, as shown by the 2011 endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Human Rights Council. In parallel, voluntary human rights standards have proliferated among prominent companies and other stakeholder groups, as have mandatory reporting requirements and other human rights-related laws in the United States and abroad. Moreover, violations of human rights standards create substantial risks of reputational harm and costly disruption of operations even when they do not give rise to legal liability. Miller & Chevalier's Business & Human Rights (BHR) practice draws on our deep experience in compliance counseling, investigations and litigation to provide tailored strategies to comply with BHR and related standards, avoid violations that create reputational and operational risk and defend against alleged violations if issues arise.
We have assisted clients in navigating these new areas of law and emerging best practices through representations involving analysis of human rights risks, human rights compliance program design and implementation, and compliance with U.S. human rights-related regulations and relevant international norms. We bring a rigorous and holistic approach to compliance, developed through decades of leadership in the anti-corruption field, in which we have assisted companies in a broad range of industries under close scrutiny by law enforcement agencies and the public. In such representations, we have long stood as a thought leader in providing practical solutions for clients' novel corporate compliance challenges. We also have substantial experience representing parties in litigation for alleged human rights violations. Representative engagements include:
- Conducting risk assessments of multinational operations;
- Advising on transactions presenting human rights risks, including due diligence and contractual safeguards;
- Structuring relationships with security forces;
- Developing corporate human rights policies and country-specific procedures;
- Communicating with governments and other stakeholders regarding human rights compliance;
- Drafting submissions to comply with the U.S. Department of State's Reporting Requirements on Responsible Investment in Burma;
- Reporting to comply with the Dodd-Frank conflict minerals disclosure requirements;
- Representing clients in litigation under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA), including a suit that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the courts unanimously affirmed the dismissal of the ATS and TVPA claims against our client;
- Research and mapping of multi-stakeholder initiatives in business and human rights; and
- Serving in leadership of the International Bar Association's Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.