Reuters report finds Foxconn imposing ‘no-married women’ rule in Tamil Nadu iPhone plant

A Reuters report citing the current and former employees said that family duties, pregnancy and higher absenteeism are some of the reasons why Foxconn does not hire married women at the plant located at Sriperumbudur.
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Foxconn India systematically excludes married women from jobs at its iPhone assembly plant in Tamil Nadu as “they have more family responsibilities than their unmarried counterparts,” revealed an investigation by Reuters. According to the report, married women who sought jobs at Foxconn were not even allowed to enter the premises and were asked about their marital status by the security guards. This violates Apple’s and Foxconn’s policies that prohibit discrimination in their supply chains.

Citing the company’s former and current employees, the report said that family duties, pregnancy and higher absenteeism are some of the reasons why Foxconn did not hire married women at the plant located at Sriperumbudur, near Chennai. A former HR executive at the company said they avoided hiring married women because of “cultural issues” and have “many issues post-marriage.” He also referred to having babies, among other issues, as a reason for not employing married women due to the “risk factor.” A few employees also blamed the jewellery worn by married Hindu women as a reason for being ineligible, as they thought it could interfere with production.

The report said that the company relaxed these rules during high-production periods and while facing labour shortage in Taiwan. It also mentioned that in some cases, hiring agencies helped women conceal their marital status.

Apple and Foxconn said they had resolved the issues about lapses in hiring that had occurred in 2022. However, the report said they did not mention whether the lapses were related to the employment of married women. Reuters, which looked into the company’s functioning in 2023 and 2024, found that discriminatory practices were still in place. A statement from Apple said all of their suppliers in India hire married women, including Foxconn. “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,” it added.

According to the report, Foxconn outsources its hiring of workers to third-party vendors registered with the Tamil Nadu government as official service providers. The Union government or the state government did not respond to the questions posed by the journalists at Reuters.

Hundreds of women working at Foxconn’s Sriperumbudur plant staged a massive protest in 2021 after more than 250 of their colleagues fell ill after consuming food provided at the company-provided hostel. The workers were agitated as the officials of the Taiwanese company reportedly only told them that those who had fallen sick were receiving medical treatment and did not reveal the reason for the poisoning. Sixty-seven protesting women workers between 18-25 years, along with a woman journalist, were detained by the Tamil Nadu police at that time.

Mass protest by Foxconn workers in TN, allege company hushed up severe food poisoning

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