5. Ensuring Good Practice in Human Resources Management

As you have seen in previous sections of this Fair Hiring Toolkit, even before they arrive at the host facility, migrant workers are inherently vulnerable to conditions of forced labor, especially when recruitment and hiring have been outsourced to labor recruiters.

Companies should also be aware that some common management practices can actually increase the vulnerability of migrant workers to exploitation. It is important to understand what drives these practices, how they can be avoided without hampering the company’s need to achieve business objectives, and to develop appropriate management controls to mitigate the risks. All key staff in the facility – including human resources personnel and line-managers – should be trained in positive, risk-mitigating management strategies. The tool to the right outlines some good management practices that facilities can implement.

It is also important to note that outsourcing on-site management functions – such as the handling grievance mechanisms, disciplinary procedures, and the provision of wages, benefits or housing – to labor recruiters can further exacerbate the vulnerability of migrant workers to exploitation. In fact, the inherent risks of this practice are so great that some brands prohibit their suppliers from outsourcing on-site human resource functions to labor recruiters.

If the outsourcing of human resource functions on-site is an unavoidable choice, then the supplier must put in place concrete measures to ensure that migrant workers are protected.