Case story

  • Guatemala

Parties

Fair Labor Association - Choi Shin Factory in Guatemala

Third Party Complaint Regarding a Facility Contracted by Liz Claiborne in Guatemala

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Case Status

Alleged violations of the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct regarding (1) wrongful dismissal; (2) access to medical assistance; (3) healthcare provision; and (4) Freedom of Association.

Story

 On January 30, 2006, FLA received the third in a series of complaints filed jointly by worker unions Sitracima and Sitrachoi on behalf of workers at two supply factories, Cimatextiles and/or Choi Shin. This third complaint concerned working conditions at Cimatextiles, a factory located in Villa Nueva, Guatemala. Both Cimatextiles and/or Choi Shin have the same owner and operate in the same (though partitioned) building.

The complaint alleged that a physician working at the clinic at Cimatextiles was fired for refusing to follow the management's instructions (1) to deny giving workers written authorizations to visit IGSS (Social Security Institute) (which is required for workers to receive medical assistance) and (2) not to provide drugs on-site.

On February 24, 2006, the FLA initiated the Third Party Complaint at Step 1. After initial discussions with Sitracima and Sitrachoi, the FLA initiated the Third Party Complaint at Step 2, adding an additional allegation (Freedom of Association), and then notified the complainant and Liz Claiborne (the FLA-affiliated company mentioned in the complaint). (Note: Pursuant to Step 2, an FLA-affiliated company has up to 45-days to conduct an assessment and submit a report as to whether there was noncompliance with the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct and, if so, whether and how it had been remedied.)

Assessment by Company:

As of May 17, 2006, Liz Claiborne reviewed files and interviewed management and union officers. Concerning the termination of the physician, Liz Claiborne reported to the FLA that the physician was terminated for performance-related reasons and that a new physician had been hired since the complaint was lodged. Liz Claiborne consulted Sitracima and Sitrachoi regarding the clinic; both unions stated that matters were satisfactory. Regarding the alleged freedom of association violation, the Liz Claiborne representative consulted with the union leadership to understand the basis of the allegation and to inquire about the process of collective bargaining.

Assessment by FLA and Recommendations:

The FLA contacted the terminated physician to obtain her perspective on the dismissal. The physician stated that Cimatextiles offered no clear reasons for the dismissal and no adequate documentation to substantiate the underperformance allegations that led to her termination. In October 2006, the company and the physician settled all issues related to her dismissal.

The FLA recommended that Liz Claiborne work with Cimatextiles to develop a comprehensive human resource management policy that also extends to those with professional services contracts, as well as develop more transparent and nondiscriminatory hiring and dismissal procedures.

Outcome

The FLA concluded this case at Step 2 of its third party complaint process on January 22, 2007, and so informed the complainant and FLA company.

References

FLA case story page: http://www.fairlabor.org/report/choi-shin-factory-guatemala

Contributor(s): This article was modified by Nicolaclayre (4), Admin (2), and Kyle (1).