Header Photo Credit: Mikael Blomkvist _Pexels

Key Points:

  • Companies use grievance mechanisms and social audits as two pillars of a robust worker-driven social compliance strategy. The most effective grievance mechanisms are implemented and maintained with workers and their unions who can negotiate solutions to identified problems.
    • Grievance mechanism: An established, transparent system that aims for peaceful resolution of conflict by an institutionalized mechanism that alleviates workers’ fear of reprisal from employers. It is critical that workers without the protection of an effective union and bargaining agreement have whistleblower protections that empower them to safely report serious concerns to management.
    • Social Audit: The process of examining a specific worksite’s compliance with the standards set in the company’s Code of Conduct. Auditing uncovers problems; it does not solve problems. It is one piece of the larger worker-driven social compliance system.  
  • Effective grievance mechanisms should be legitimate, accessible, predictable, equitable, transparent, rights-compatible, a source of continuous learnings, and based on dialogue and engagement.  
  • Grievance mechanisms must provide some means of dispute remediation or settlement. 
  • Social auditing is a useful tool to assess compliance at a particular point in time and should not be used as the only process for determining the prevalence of forced or child labor in a supply chain. Audits should be tailored to a code of conduct and the local context. They must also specifically focus on labor rights and be used with the intention of remediating identified issues. 

Key Topics

Examples in Action