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HomeNewsIndian government probe iPhone factory for bias against hiring married women

Indian government probe iPhone factory for bias against hiring married women

The Indian government has sought a detailed report from Tamil Nadu state following media reports that Apple supplier Foxconn was allegedly rejecting married women for iPhone assembly jobs.

A Reuters investigation alleged that Foxconn had excluded married women from jobs at its main India iPhone plant near Chennai, citing their greater family responsibilities compared to unmarried women.

The federal labour ministry says the law “clearly stipulates that no discrimination (is) to be made while recruiting men and women workers”.

Neither Apple nor the Tamil Nadu state government responded to requests for comment from Reuters.

The BBC has also reached out to Foxconn and the Tamil Nadu labour department for a response.

Foxconn, the largest supplier of Apple iPhones, set up its first factory in Tamil Nadu in 2017 but has since been aggressively expanding its operations in India.

In 2023, it began assembling the iPhone 15 in the state and earlier this year, Foxconn tied up with Google to make Pixel smartphones in Tamil Nadu.

Rights activists say the reports about the firm’s hiring practices in India are concerning, given that thousands look to its factories for employment opportunities.

Reuters said it spoke to numerous employees and Foxconn hiring agencies for the story.

The report said that hiring agents and Foxconn HR sources “cited family duties, pregnancy and higher absenteeism as reasons why Foxconn did not hire married women at the plant”.

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This isn’t the first time the firm has come under the scanner for its labour practices.

In 2018, a US-based rights group had accused the firm of overworking and underpaying temporary workers at its factory in China that manufactured products for Amazon.

In 2022, its iPhone factory in China saw protests by workers who claimed that they had not been paid certain dues.

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