India Probes Apple Supplier for Alleged Discrimination Against Married Women

iphone assembly plant

Indian labor officials are investigating Apple’s supplier, Foxconn after a Reuters report alleged the company systematically excluded married women from iPhone assembly jobs.

The investigation comes after a five-member team from the federal government’s regional labor department visited the Foxconn factory near Chennai on July 1st. Officials questioned company directors and HR representatives and requested documents related to hiring practices and compliance with labor laws.

According to Reuters, Foxconn HR sources and third-party recruiters cited family duties, pregnancy, and higher absenteeism as reasons to avoid hiring married women. The report also revealed that Foxconn relaxed this practice during peak production periods.

Foxconn claims it doesn’t discriminate, and has provided figures showing that over 8% of its female workforce is married. However, it hasn’t provided a breakdown by department, specifically iPhone assembly, where the discrimination was reported.

While both Apple and Foxconn have policies against marital status discrimination in their supply chains, Indian law doesn’t explicitly forbid it.

The companies claim to have addressed similar issues in 2022, but the Reuters investigation documented discriminatory practices occurring in 2023 and 2024.

Officials have yet to include questions about Foxconn’s third-party recruiters in their investigation. The Indian government is collecting information, and no further actions against Foxconn have been announced.

India has been in the news recently due to its large user base and enthusiastic Apple fan community. Just a few days ago, it was reported that Apple is adding several Indian languages, including Hindi, to Siri 2.0 in iOS 18 and its translation app.

Additionally, Apple now assembles one in seven iPhones in India and plans to manufacture camera modules in the country. However, despite these developments, Apple has added eight suppliers in China because the quality of 50% of India-made iPhones is “not good enough.”

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