Foxconn Caught In ‘Discrimination Based On Marital Status’ Controversy

Foxconn Caught In ‘Discrimination Based On Marital Status' Controversy

On Wednesday, the Central Government stated that it has asked the government of Tamil Nadu to submit a detailed report after a report by Reuters revealed that Apple supplier Foxconn rejected married women from assembly jobs for iPhones in India. In a statement asking for an investigation, the Ministry of Labour and Employment referred to the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, which states that men and women should be treated equally when they are employed. The ministry also stated that it has requested a detailed report from Tamil Nadu’s labor department on the location of a significant iPhone factory, where Reuters reported that Foxconn has been avoiding hiring married women for jobs. The Labour Ministry has also asked the Regional Chief Labour Commissioner to provide a factual report.

Report Covered by Reuters

On Tuesday, Reuters published an investigation report that revealed that Foxconn has been excluding married women from jobs at its major iPhone plant near Chennai, Tamil Nadu. As per the report, Foxconn believes that married women have more family responsibilities as compared to single women. When Reuters interviewed the Foxconn hiring agents and HR sources, they revealed the reasons for not hiring married women. The reasons include family duties, pregnancy, and higher absenteeism. The Ministry of Labour acknowledged the media reports related to this issue at the Foxconn India Apple iPhone plant. In its Tuesday report, when Reuters asked questions, Foxconn and Apple admitted to the issues related to hiring in 2022 and stated that they have worked to resolve the issues. However, the discriminatory practices documented by Reuters took place in 2023 and 2022, and the companies did nothing to address these recent issues. Apple stated that, “In 2022, when concerns about hiring practices were first raised, we took action immediately and worked with our supplier to conduct monthly audits to identify problems and ensure high standards are upheld.” Apple also added that all suppliers, including Foxconn, hire married women. Foxconn strongly denied all allegations of discrimination related to employment based on marital status, gender, or religion.

Lawyers stated to Reuters that Indian laws do not prohibit companies from discriminating in the hiring process based on marital status, but Foxconn and Apple’s policies do not allow such practices in their supply chains. This discrimination contradicts the codes of conduct for both Foxconn and Apple.

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Controversy around ornaments as a reason for rejection

Foxconn is a key manufacturer of Apple devices in India. Foxconn has stated to the government that 25% of its newly hired employees are married women, and that is a safety rule that bans all employees from wearing metal regardless of gender or religion. This practice is not discriminatory. In an informal note to the government, Foxconn stated that these claims might have come from individuals who were not hired, and such stipulations are not part of the company’s policy. The company also clarifies that the discussion related to Hindu women being discriminated against for wearing metal is totally false. Foxconn stated that for safety reasons, metal in the factory is not allowed to any worker and is a common practice in many industries.

About WR News Writer

WR News Writer is an engineer turned professionally trained writer who has a strong voice in her writing. She speaks on issues of migrant workers, human rights, and more.

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