In our last post, we discussed the issues of health, safety, and hygiene and the hazards you need to look out for, corresponding to section D of the report.
In today’s post, we cover section E of The John Lewis Partnership‘s Responsible Sourcing Supplier Workbook which covers discipline.
Discipline refers to the treatment of workers and the issue here is whether or not they are treated fairly and with respect. Unacceptable discipline ranges from verbal abuse, shouting and threat of abuse through bullying and illegal fines all the way to sexual harassment and abuse, beatings, and humiliating punishments.
Why is this an issue? Research by the John Lewis Partnership has discovered the following facts:
- a sexual harassment study in commercial agriculture and textile manufacturing in Kenya found that over 90% of respondents had experienced or observed sexual abuse and 95% of women who had suffered abuse were afraid to report the problem for fear of losing their jobs
- workers in England and Wales experienced an estimated 849,000 incidents of violence in 2002/2003
- workplace bullying contributes to an estimated loss of 18 million working days every year in the UK as victims of workplace bullying take an average of seven additional days off per year
In order to prevent discipline-related issues, as an employer, you need to ensure that:
- no worker is subject to, or threatened with, physical, sexual, or verbal abuse
- managers, supervisors, and line-leaders do not use any kind of harassment, bullying, or intimidation
- fines are not used as a disciplinary measure
- disciplinary policies and procedures are transparent, applied equally to all employers, and effectively communicated to all workers in their language
- there is a formal grievance procedure in place
- managers and supervisors understand the disciplinary procedures
- records are kept on disciplinary and grievance actions
- dismissals are only on legal grounds
- positive incentives are in place to promote good behavior
In our next post, we’ll tackle the fifth major issue addressed by the workbook, freedom of association and employee representation. (You can access all of the posts in the series (to-date) by selecting the JLP category at any time.)