Lululemon investigating allegations of abuse at Bangladeshi factory
Published Tuesday, October 15, 2019 3:16PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, October 15, 2019 6:53PM PDT
VANCOUVER - Lululemon has launched an investigation into allegations of abuse at a garment factory in Bangladesh that manufacturers some of its clothing.
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson told CTV News the Vancouver-based company sent a team to visit the factory in question a day after The Guardian newspaper published an investigation alleging some workers face physical and verbal abuse.
The UK-based daily did not identify the factory workers by name or provide a specific number of workers who allege they “faced physical violence and regular humiliation” at the hands of their managers.
According to The Guardian, the factory is owned and operated by Youngone Corporation, a Korean company.
Guardian reporters Sarah Marsh and Redwan Ahmed told CTV News many of the workers said they were afraid to speak to journalists out of fear they would face retaliation.
"If they were late or if they left early, they'd be slapped and beaten," said Marsh. "One woman had jaundice and she reported that she talked about her problems with the medic but was made to work anyway.”
CTV News has not independently verified the allegations made in the Guardian article.
In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson with Lululemon said the company is taking the allegations "very seriously" and is working with a third-party to conduct an investigation.
"Members of Lululemon's social responsibility and production team visited the factory in Bangladesh immediately to speak with workers and learn more," the company wrote.
"While our production at this factory is extremely limited, we will ensure workers are protected from any form of abuse and are treated fairly."
The company directed CTV to its Vendor Code of Ethics, which it said “consists of best in class industry standards.”
“A responsible supply chain starts with us and we are committed to upholding ethical sourcing practices globally…We require that all vendors share our values and uphold a consistent set of policies that live up to our Code. We do not tolerate any violation of this Code," Lululemon said in a statement.
CTV News has also reached out to Youngone Corporation, but has not yet heard back.
The Guardian reported that Youngone has launched an internal review and said “it is fully committed to providing a working environment in all its facilities that is safe, fair and just.”