On January 31, 2020, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) received a Third Party Complaint with respect to the factory Bienno Sociedad Anónima Guatemala filed by the Comité Ad Hoc de trabajadores de Bienno S.A. (Bienno Workers Ad Hoc Committee).
The complainants alleged a range of workers’ rights violations in the factory centering on failure to pay workers’ wages on time, non-payment of social security contributions, and including freedom of association violations and discrimination against members of their organization. If substantiated, the allegations would violate FLA benchmarks related to Compensation, Non-Discrimination, and Freedom of Association.
The complainants alleged that three FLA-affiliated companies were sourcing from the factory. However, upon further examination, the FLA confirmed that only Hanesbrands Inc. sourced from the factory as of the time the complaint was submitted.
The FLA informed Hanesbrands on February 11, 2020 that the Complaint had been accepted and moved to Step 2 of the Third Party Complaint process. Under Step 2, the affiliated company has up to 45 days to address the allegations and submit a report to the FLA with an assessment and potential remediation steps. Alternatively, the affiliated company may waive the company investigation and move the case to Step 3 under the process, in which case the FLA then would hire an independent third party investigator to conduct an investigation. Hanesbrands opted to conduct its own assessment of the allegations and engaged an external independent auditor to conduct an in situ visit at the factory and carry out relevant interviews with factory management and workers, including all members of the Ad Hoc Committee.
The auditor centered his assessment on the allegations filed by the complainants, but also implemented a full social compliance audit based on Hanesbrands’ established standards. After the auditor completed his work, Hanesbrands summitted a summary report to the FLA on March 11, 2020.