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Indian Authorities Interrogate Executives About Recruiting When They Visit The Foxconn iPhone Facility

Indian Authorities Interrogate Executives About Recruiting When They Visit The Foxconn iPhone Facility
Indian labour inspectors inquired about Foxconn's recruiting procedures during a visit to a southern plant this week, an official said. The inquiry followed Reuters' revelation that the company, a key Apple supplier, had been turning away married women for iPhone assembly positions.
A. Narasaiah, the regional labour commissioner, talked with business directors and human resources officials during a five-person team visit to the Foxconn facility in Tamil Nadu state on July 1. This information was provided to the media over the phone on Wednesday.
There were no comments available on the issue from Foxconn and Apple.
Following Reuters' investigation into hiring practices at the manufacturing facility, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government last week requested comprehensive reports on the subject from state officials and the office of the federal government's Regional Chief Labour Commissioner. This prompted the current inquiries.
Narasaiah stated, "We are gathering information, and have requested the company to submit documents like company policies, recruitment policies," in addition to proof of labour law compliance and details on maternity and retirement benefits. "They told us they are not discriminating."
According to Narasaiah, Foxconn notified labour regulators that 41,281 workers, including 33,360 women, are employed at the plant. He stated that 2,750 of these women, or around 8%, were married and cited Foxconn's reply.
According to Narasaiah, Foxconn failed to dissect the employment numbers into certain departments, such iPhone assembly, where Reuters had claimed that discrimination was occurring. He continued by saying that during their interviews with 40 married women within the company, the labour inspectors found no evidence of prejudice.
As of right now, Narasaiah stated he has no intention of questioning Foxconn's outside employment agents, who source applicants and bring them to the facility for interviews.
According to a Reuters story released last week, Foxconn often denied married women employment as assembly workers at its primary iPhone facility in India, citing their greater family obligations compared to single colleagues. Pregnancy, family responsibilities, and increased absenteeism were mentioned by Foxconn HR insiders and outside recruiting agencies as justifications for avoiding employing married women.
The investigation also revealed that Foxconn, a company located in Taiwan, lessens its policy of not recruiting married women when output is at its peak.
The revelation has spurred requests for an investigation by opposition politicians and women's groups, including those inside Modi's party, as well as debates on TV channels and newspaper editorials.
In response to the Reuters story, Apple and Foxconn stated that they have taken steps to resolve the recruiting process flaws that occurred in 2022. However, all of the discriminatory actions at the Tamil Nadu facility that Reuters was able to record happened between 2023 and 2024. The businesses ignored those occurrences.
According to prior statements, Foxconn, then known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, "vigorously refutes allegations of employment discrimination based on marital status, gender, religion or any other form."
According to Apple, "when concerns about hiring practices were first raised in 2022 we immediately took action and worked with our supplier to conduct monthly audits to identify issues and ensure that our high standards are upheld." Foxconn is one of the suppliers that employs married women.
Despite Apple and Foxconn's rules prohibiting such practices in their supply chains, Indian law does not forbid enterprises from discriminating in employment on the basis of marital status.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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