Sunday, March 25, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
So there's this new trend in industry called "Social Responsibility" or "Ethical Trading" or any other form of buzzword bingo for "covering corporate ass against any hint of bad sourcing practices". It's a set of practices intended to ensure laborers in factories are properly paid, trained, compensated and protected against workplace hazards. And the hilarious assumption in this is that only factory workers can be poorly treated, erroneously paid and ill-trained, but alas, that's a blog of another sort altogether. Not to mention the assumption that there aren't a host of government agencies already supposedly doing just that thing. Yet another blog for another day.
Along with a set of practices comes the inevitable audit, and even worse the Auditor. This person is ostensibly, to use a Marti word even though I'm sober blogging, an expert at both the standard and applicable local laws. Well, not the case.
For the past two days I have heard an auditor make sexist statements. Great example -- "What if a lady needed to access this fire extinguisher? It's hung to high for her." Oh, yes. He did say that. I'm not a tall Ghost, and I could have done that extinguisher in a heart beat. Women don't have the market cornered on being vertically challenged last I checked. Further, mounting it lower could turn it into a different hazard, so pick your poison sexist pig.
Then this auditor had to do employee interviews to validate management isn't evil. They do this interview from an unpublished list of questions, and apparently with no regard to labor law. In the country I worked in this week, asking someone's date of birth or age violates the worker's civil rights. This expert did a grand job violating civil rights all over the place trying to determine if our very senior workforce contained any child laborers. When we found out about the issue, he was utterly unapologetic. "How else am I supposed to know if you have child laborers if I don't know someone's age or date of birth?"
So my very law-abiding company submits to this audit at a customer's behest to validate we treat our employees with dignity and in compliance with appropriate rules, standards and guidelines to have the Auditor act in a manner violating all of those things.
Welcome to being Socially Responsible. I hope your audit goes better than mine. At least I know my company's practices are better than the Auditor's.