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.

Troon Manufacturing in Nicaragua

Publication date: 
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Report type: 
Third Party Complaint
Four workers whose associational rights were breached were reinstated in their jobs, with payment of lost wages and benefits and restoration of seniority, after submitting a third party complaint to the FLA. Adidas conducted the investigation leading to reinstatement of the workers.

Orma Tekstil Independent Freedom of Association Investigation

Publication date: 
Friday, March 27, 2015
Report type: 
On July 14, 2014, Participating Company H&M requested that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) commission an independent investigation into allegations regarding Freedom of Association (FOA) violations at three supplier facilities in Turkey owned by Orma Tekstil, one in Duzce and two in Istanbul.


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