Daily Archives: August 5, 2007

JLP Responsible Sourcing Part VIII: Equality of Treatment

In our last post, we covered the issues surrounding working hours, corresponding to section G of the report. In today’s post, we cover section H of The John Lewis Partnership‘s Responsible Sourcing Supplier Workbook which covers equality of treatment.

All workers should be paid the same for the same job and have access to the same opportunities and benefits. Employment discrimination happens when someone is treated differently because of gender, race, national origin, religion, caste, class, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or union membership.

Discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes. It can also occur in all stages of the employment process: in hiring, compensation, training, promotion, termination, and retirement. Victims of discrimination may:

  • be less likely to be hired
  • be paid differently
  • be unfairly dismissed
  • suffer verbal or physical bullying
  • receive little or no training
  • have fewer promotion opportunities

Certain countries have particularly common forms of discrimination that you need to watch out for:

  • gender or religious discrimination in the Middle East & North Africa
  • union discrimination in Colombia
  • caste discrimination in India
  • migrant worker discrimination in China

Certain types of discrimination, especially compensation-based discrimination, are still very common, even in developed countries:

  • women in the UK earn, on average, 17% less than men
  • women in Malaysia earn, on average, 32% less than men
  • in the UK, 30,000 women are dismissed a year simply because they are pregnant

The workbook offers a starting checklist that you can use to make sure that discrimination does not become a problem for your company:

  • all managers are fully aware of the laws regarding discrimination in the country of operation and the policies of your organization
  • there is an equal opportunity policy in place
  • everyone receives equitable pay for the same work
  • there are no medical tests as part of the recruitment process
  • maternity and paternity leave is permitted
  • there is a clear procedure for raising grievances

In our next post, we’ll tackle the eigth major issue addressed by the workbook, wages. (You can access all of the posts in the series (to-date) by selecting the JLP category at any time.)