Safeguards

Safeguards are a set of tools that enable the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to address instances of significant and persistent noncompliance with the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and Compliance Benchmarks in production facilities used by FLA affiliated companies, suppliers or university licensees.  Safeguard measures include:

  • Third Party Complaints
  • Brand-commissioned Independent Investigation with FLA Verification
  • FLA-commissioned Special Independent Investigation
  • Stakeholder Dialogue
  • Projects

Safeguards tools, which may not be mutually exclusive, offer the opportunity to engage stakeholders more proactively and effectively on issues that are important to them and may relate to systemic and entrenched concerns that are not amenable to resolution using narrowly-focused approaches.

The Third Party Complaint procedure is the cornerstone of Safeguards. Pursuant to the Third Party Complaint procedure, any person, group or organization can report to the FLA allegations of instances of persistent or serious noncompliance with the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and Compliance Benchmarks in a production facility used by an FLA-affiliated company, supplier or university licensee.  The goal of the Third Party Complaint procedure is to remediate any noncompliances that might be identified.  The FLA maintains a chart tracking the progress of our investigations into recent Third Party Complaints. 

Brand-commissioned Independent Investigations with FLA Verification and FLA-Commissioned Special Independent Investigations are tools that can be used to address situations where there is a perceived need to investigate a potential serious violation of worker rights and carry out remediation, but a formal Third Party Complaint has not been filed or is not appropriate. Standards of independence of investigations, remediation, and transparency characteristic of Third Party Complaints are also applied in the application of these Safeguards.

Stakeholder dialogue and projects are two ways in which the FLA identifies and addresses systemic issues affecting specific labor markets. These activities might be initiated by the FLA on the basis of information received from staff or from stakeholders or could take the form of a specific project developed by an affiliated company on an issue of broad interest to FLA stakeholders.

Ethical Fashion Africa, Ltd., in Kenya

Publication date: 
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On June 30, 2015, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) accepted for review a Third Party Complaint filed by a worker alleging violations of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct regarding compensation and hours of work by FLA-affiliated company Ethical Fashion Africa, Ltd. in Kenya. The FLA selected independent expert Leonard Nawiri, based in Nairobi, Kenya, to conduct an assessment of the allegations and prepare a report and relevant recommendations.

Impression Apparel in El Salvador

Publication date: 
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On April 28, 2015, trade unions in El Salvador filed a Third Party Complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) alleging that the Impression Apparel factory was not in compliance with several benchmarks of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct. Allegations included violations of workers' freedom of association, harsh penalties for infractions as minor as arriving one minute late for work, and the improper use of temporary contracts for permanent work, in order to avoid paying benefits.

JoeAnne Dominicana, Dominican Republic

Publication date: 
Monday, October 12, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On March 2, 2015, the Federation of Dominican Free Trade Zone, Diverse Industries, and Services Workers (Federación Dominicana de Trabajadores de Zonas Francas, Industrias Diversas y de Servicios, FEDOTRAZONAS) in the Dominican Republic filed a Third Party Complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) alleging violations of freedom of association by JoeAnne Dominicana against the local union United Workers Union (Sindicato de Trabajadores Unidos).

COFACO in Peru

Publication date: 
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
In March of 2015, a worker at the factory COFACO in Peru filed a Third Party Complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) alleging various omissions and errors in providing COFACO workers with their full legally entitled wage payments and bonuses.

Karacabey Factory in Turkey

Publication date: 
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On June 16, 2015, a group of workers at the Karacabey factory in Turkey, owned and operated by Participating Company Nestlé, submitted a Third Party Complaint with the FLA alleging that they had been dismissed because of their union affiliation.

Independent Verification of Remediation at Style Avenue in El Salvador

Publication date: 
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Report type: 
Investigation
In early 2015, at the request of affiliated companies Outerstuff and College Kids, the FLA engaged labor rights expert Katya Castillo to conduct a special investigation of the labor rights situation at the Style Avenue factory in El Salvador. The new verification exercise found improvement in the establishment of regular work-week hours and holidays, but found incomplete remediation actions related to: freedom of association, harassment or abuse, high temperatures inside the factory, and other issues.

Syngenta Procurement Prices in India

Publication date: 
Monday, July 20, 2015
Report type: 
Investigation
In December of 2014, DanWatch, a Danish civil society organization that monitors the corporate social responsibility behavior of multinational companies, released the documentary “Seeds of Debt.” The documentary reported instances of exploitative high-interest money lending to farmers in rural Andhra Pradesh, India – a systemic problem in the agriculture sector – and featured testimony from farmers producing seeds for Syngenta, an affiliate of the Fair Labor Association (FLA).

Style Avenue in El Salvador

Publication date: 
Monday, July 13, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On March 19, 2015, the local union at the factory Style Avenue in El Salvador filed a Third Party Complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA). The complaint alleged that over the period from January 28 to February 8, 2015, the factory suspended operations and only paid workers for three of those days, in violation of Salvadoran law.

Gokaldas India in Bangalore

Publication date: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
Following the death of a young child in a day-care facility run by the Gokaldas India factory in Bangalore (supplier for FLA affiliate Adidas), the FLA received a request for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the child’s medical emergency, including several factors leading to delays in securing medical attention.

New Holland Apparel in Nicaragua

Publication date: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On December 2, 2014, a worker at the factory New Holland Apparel de Nicaragua, in Nicaragua, filed a Third Party Complaint with the FLA alleging that she had been dismissed from her job because of her union affiliation; moreover, the worker alleged that she was harassed by management, which had led to psychological trauma and the need for medical treatment.

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