When a newspaper report revealed alleged abuse of workers at a factory that has supplied products for leisurewear favoured by celebrities and social media stars, the company involved – Lululemon – quite rightly launched an immediate investigation.
Staff at the Bangladesh firm claimed to have suffered physical and verbal abuse at the hands of their bosses. Lululemon says it is committed to upholding ethical sourcing practices globally and will act appropriately depending on what its investigation finds.
Julia Fitzsimmons, a Partner in our Employment team, discusses why every business should take note:
The Anti Slavery organisation estimates that 40.3 million people are in modern slavery across the world so it is an issue that affects every business. Modern slavery is the term used to describe workers who are being exploited and controlled by someone else, without being able to leave.
While you may think that it does not relate to your business directly, every organisation – as with Lululemon – should demonstrate that it is working to uphold the highest employment standards with a Modern Slavery policy.
This document should outline how a business will ensure modern slavery does not take place in its own business or those in its supply chain. The supply chain could include everything from the uniforms staff wear to the caterers or cleaners you use so it is vital that businesses do conduct due diligence and check that the suppliers it works with meet the same standards as it does.
To register for a free modern slavery policy statement that can be used as a basis for your own company policy, please get in touch.