Apple Supplier Foxconn Bans Married Women From Working at India Plant Due to Family Responsibilities

By Thea Felicity

Jun 25, 2024 11:44 AM EDT

This aerial photo shows the Foxconn headquarters in Tucheng district, New Taipei City on May 6, 2022.
(Photo : SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Apple's manufacturer, Foxconn, has been excluding married women from assembly jobs at its flagship smartphone plant in India, violating both companies' codes of conduct that prohibit discrimination based on marital status, as shared by the investigative team of Reuters.

In the report, two sisters, Parvathi and Janaki, were among those who alleged Foxconn's discriminatory hiring practices. In March 2023, they were turned away at the gate of the iPhone factory in southern India after a security officer asked if they were married. "We didn't get the jobs as we both are married," Parvathi said.

The investigation found that Foxconn has systematically excluded married women from its main India iPhone assembly plant, citing family responsibilities and the potential for absenteeism. 

S. Paul, a former HR executive at Foxconn India, said the company conveys these rules verbally to its Indian hiring agencies.

Foxconn typically avoids hiring married women due to perceived "cultural issues" and societal pressures, Paul added, mentioning that married women "have babies" and thus are considered riskier hires. This account was corroborated by 17 employees from Foxconn's hiring agencies and four current and former HR executives.

These sources also cited that the jewelry worn by married Hindu women could interfere with production. However, three former Foxconn HR executives noted that the company relaxes this hiring practice during high-production periods, and some hiring agencies help candidates conceal their marital status to secure jobs.

READ MORE: Vietnam Urges Apple Supplier Foxconn to Voluntarily Reduce Power Use by 30% amid Worsening Electricity Outages

Foxconn's Response to Hiring Scandal

In response to questions from Reuters, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged lapses in hiring practices in 2022 and claimed to have addressed these issues. However, the discriminatory practices documented by Reuters continued into 2023 and 2024.

Reuters visited Sriperumbudur multiple times between January 2023 and May 2024, speaking to dozens of jobseekers. The investigation found that hiring agencies explicitly stated only unmarried women were eligible for assembly jobs, despite the companies' codes of conduct prohibiting such discrimination.

Apple stated it upholds the "highest supply chain standards" and noted that Foxconn employs some married women in India. Foxconn denied allegations of employment discrimination based on marital status.

Indian law does not bar discrimination based on marital status in private sector hiring, but such practices may interfere with individuals' rights to trade and occupation and, if challenged, potentially be struck down by courts.

Meanwhile, in China, where Foxconn also operates, job ads do not mention marital status or gender, allowing anyone aged 18 to 48 to apply.

READ NEXT: Apple Supplier Foxconn Sees Surge in April Sales, Thanks to Strong iPhone Demand

© 2024 VCPOST, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics