What Do Retailers Owe Their Suppliers’ Employees?

business_ethics_highlights_2 It’s an ethics-class question that has now become an acute legal issue: is a retailer responsible for the working conditions at the factories it gets its wares from? In particular, does a retailer owe the workers at those factories a legal “duty of care“? In some instances, the question may seem ludicrous. If you go to a hardware store to buy a screwdriver, do you really expect that store to have looked into the working conditions at the factory where that screwdriver was made? Or any of the other thousands of products they stock? On the other hand, when the retailer gets lots of products from factories in a jurisdiction that is notorious for its history of unsafe working conditions, the question seems a bit less foolish.

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LINK: A court will decide: what does Loblaw owe the workers who died making its clothes in Bangladesh? (by Fatima Sayed for The Toronto Star)

An appeals court is weighing whether the firm’s code of corporate social responsibility means it has a duty of care to suppliers’ workers who were victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster. Loblaw says there is no precedent for such a suit….

What do you think?


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