Foxconn “excluded” married women from jobs, claim reports; NHRC issues notice to Centre, Tamil Nadu government

A former HR at Foxconn had alleged that "verbal directions" have been given to the Indian hiring agencies by the company in this regard.


Published Jul 01, 2024 | 9:04 PM Updated Jul 01, 2024 | 9:04 PM

Foxconn discriminates against married women, claim reports.

The National Human Rights Commission on Monday, 1 July said it has issued notices to the Union Labour Ministry and the Tamil Nadu government over reports that a major manufacturer of electronic devices has allegedly “systematically excluded” married women from jobs at its assembly plant in Sriperumbudur.

Issuing the notices, NHRC has noted the fact that gender equality is not only required in the Indian Constitution but the international treaty and covenants, viz., International Covenant Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights also provide non-discrimination on the ground of gender in any form of employment.

The NHRC has taken “suo motu cognisance of media reports that Foxconn, a major manufacturer of Apple devices has systematically excluded married women from job at its iPhone assembly plant in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu,” it said.

It is also stated that the company “does not hire married women because of cultural issues and societal pressure,” the statement said, citing reports.

Sources recently said Apple iPhone maker Foxconn has informed the government that 25 pecent of its new hires are married women and its safety protocol, which requires all employees to avoid wearing metal irrespective of gender or religion, is not discriminatory.

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In an informal note shared with the government after reports had suggested that it was not hiring married women, Foxconn had stated that such stipulations are not part of its policy and these claims may have been made by those individuals who were not hired, the sources earlier said.

The Commission in its statement has observed that the content of the media reports, if true, raise a serious issue of discrimination against married women causing the violation of the right to equality and equal opportunity.

Therefore, NHRC has issued notices to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, and the chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu government, seeking a detailed report within one week, the statement said.

It is the obligation of the state authorities to ensure that all companies follow the norms and regulations relating to labour laws and the right to health and dignity to any individual, including women, who are working in the supply chain of any production unit of the private sector, the statement said.

As per media reports carried on 26 June, a number of job seekers in the company were spoken to during the period January 2023 to May 2024 and the candidate information pamphlet of the company was examined, it said.

“It was revealed that only unmarried women were eligible for assembly job while there was no mention in this regard in the advertisements made by the company. A WhatsApp chat between a married candidate and the hiring agency of the company was also quoted in the news report stating that when the candidate asked about the salary and childcare facility offered by the company, the response was ‘married not allowed’. The company, reportedly, refuted the allegations of discrimination in employment based on marital status, gender, religion or any other form,” the statement said.

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