Being able to raise concerns to facility management or to Gap Inc. is essential for workers to have a voice in their workplace. We require facilities to provide a confidential and anonymous channel for workers to express grievances without fear of retaliation. The grievance process must allow for a timely response, with documentation, and an action plan to address the issue. Our field team trains factory workers and managers on establishing and using grievance mechanisms. If our team identifies any issues, we require facilities to implement corrective action plans and evaluate their performance.
We provide all of our suppliers with information on how to effectively operate and manage grievance mechanisms. Key elements include information on:
- how effective grievance mechanisms can play an important role in identifying, preventing and remediating issues of concern on the facility floor;
- how facility-level grievance mechanisms can help support workers’ ability to raise concerns and seek remedy in the workplace; and
- how mechanisms can enable facility management to understand and address issues before they escalate into bigger issues.
We also have developed a comprehensive suite of programs that provide myriad workplace benefits and channels where workers can effectively raise grievances. Within each program, workers are given a voice to raise concerns with facility management and outside parties, via various channels:
- Our Workforce Engagement Program offers an approach in which individuals can confidentially report workplace-related grievances to facility management via worker surveys, interviews and messaging applications.
- Our Workplace Cooperation Program provides training for workers and management on how to improve industrial relations, with an emphasis on how to develop and implement grievance mechanisms. Our goal is to deliver this program to 200 facilities by 2020; as of the end of 2020, we had reached 184 facilities. We assess grievances raised via this program, including the amount of time taken to remediate, channels used and outcomes. As of 2020, through the grievance channels developed as result of this program, a total of 22,800 grievances were raised, with 92% of the total grievances resolved so far.
- Our Assessment and Remediation program evaluates the efficacy and use of grievance mechanisms. Our Supplier Sustainability team provides contact information to workers in the facilities from which we source, so they are able to reach out to Gap Inc. directly if there are issues that require our attention.
- Our Code of Business Conduct Hotline is available to employees of both Gap Inc. and our suppliers. It provides a secure and confidential, telephone and web-based reporting system—24 hours a day, seven days a week—and is managed by an independent, third-party vendor. Interpreters are available, and calls and web submissions are free, confidential, and may be made anonymously. This hotline is utilized by employees in our suppliers’ factories.
We believe that context-specific approaches to grievance mechanisms will increase the likelihood that workers use them. We are evaluating additional service providers that can help to implement technology-based solutions in other sourcing markets. Additionally, we are responsive to third parties that raise grievances with us via any of our communication channels.