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.

Hugo Boss Izmir, Turkey

Publication date: 
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On November 5, 2015, the FLA received a Third Party Complaint regarding freedom of association at a facility owned and operated by Hugo Boss in Izmir, Turkey. The Teksif Union, which filed the complaint, alleged harassment of union members by management and that the dismissal of a union member in October 2015 was motivated by the worker's union activities. Subsequently, the FLA received a second complaint, also from the Teksif Union, alleging that another union member had also been dismissed.

Han Embroidery, Bangladesh

Publication date: 
Thursday, July 14, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On March 9, 2016, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) accepted for review a Third Party Complaint filed by the University of Washington regarding lack of payment of compensation and benefits at the factory Han Embroidery Ltd in Savar, Bangladesh. FLA-affiliated company Zephyr Graf-X sources from the factory Han Apparels Ltd (“Han Apparels”); Han Embroidery was a subcontracted embroidery factory to Han Apparels.

NGB Too, Guatemala

Publication date: 
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On November 11, 2015, the FLA accepted for review a complaint filed by a union representative about a Guatemalan sewing factory that suddenly terminated its operations at the end of March 2015 without paying workers the required wages, beneifts, bonuses, and severance benefits. The complainant further alleged that FLA-affiliated company PVH was a buyer at the factory, as product under PVH’s brand Tommy Hilfiger was produced at the factory.

Hansae Vietnam

Publication date: 
Friday, June 3, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On January 21, 2016, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) accepted for review a Third Party Complaint filed by Cornell University regarding the factory Hansae Vietnam, located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The complaint called for an investigation of issues related to payment of productivity bonuses that resulted in strikes in October and November 2015 in Hansae’s Workshop 5. FLA-affiliated company Nike is a buyer from the factory.

Troon Manufacturing in Nicaragua

Publication date: 
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
In August 2015, the FLA accepted a Third Party Complaint filed by the labor union Unidos en Victoria alleging freedom of association violations and improper dismissals at the factory Troon Manufacturing in Tipitapa, Nicaragua. The FLA accepted the case for review, informing adidas-Group, an FLA-affiliated company that sourced from the factory.

Mongru Neckwear in Long island City, NY

Publication date: 
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
In May 2015, a representative of Workers United, the union that represents workers at the factory Mongru Neckwear, in Long Island City, New York, alleged that Category B Licensee Vineyard Vines had failed to remediate noncompliances identified by the FLA during an assessment conducted in December 2014.

F&D, S.A. de C.V. factory in El Salvador

Publication date: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
On January 24, 2015, the Textile Union of El Salvador filed a Third Party Complaint alleging that the F&D factory maintained a system of production goals that implicitly required workers to work hours beyond their normal work schedules for which they were not compensated at overtime rates and moreover that the monetized production goals failed to reflect increases in the minimum wage approved by the government of El Salvador.

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).

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