Degrading treatment and personal privacy


If you believe that there is an increased risk of your suppliers subjecting employees or other parties to degrading treatment, or having an adverse influence on the private lives of employees or other parties, and you wish to include this area in the annex to your Code of Conduct, you can add the following requirements to your Code of Conduct by clicking on "Save to clipboard".

Violence or other types of degrading treatment in the workplace is a problem in many countries. Violence not only leads to anxiety and ill health on the part of the victim, but also to considerable losses for the supplier in the form of reduced productivity, more lawsuits, low morale, high staff turnover and higher sick leave rates.

Most companies in the world will potentially have an adverse impact on personal privacy, since companies collect private information concerning employees. The vital aspects include how they store and make use of such information, and whether they use surveillance. 

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Below there is more information on various aspects of degrading treatment and personal privacy:

Violence, assault, harassment and threats at the workplace
Violence at the workplace can include many types of behaviour, including assault, physical and sexual harassment, threats and intimidation. For example, there are cases where companies physically punish employees. 

Disciplinary measures

Any knowledge of and use of threats, physical punishment and verbal abuse are not acceptable. The supplier must ensure that the employees feel secure at their workplace and are treated with respect and dignity. While disciplinary measures may be necessary and legitimate, the supplier may not use or support the use of physical punishment, force, or verbal abuse. 


Suppliers that use scientific or medical tests, as well as product tests, should pay particular attention. These suppliers are expected to obtain free and informed written consent from all participants prior to the trial.

Personal privacy

All over the world, suppliers have an adverse impact on the right to personal privacy. Employees are often unaware that they are being monitored or that their personal information is passed on without their prior consent. 

The supplier will often need to gather personal data about employees for legitimate purposes, such as tax liability or health insurance. When personal data is collected, the supplier should ensure that the collection of data has a legitimate business purpose, and that the employee is aware of this purpose. Personal data about an employee should be obtained directly from the person in question, unless the employee gives written permission to allow a third party to pass on this information. 

Regardless of how or whether the supplier monitors its employees, such monitoring should be reasonable, appropriate and justifiable in relation to the supplier’s business interests. The supplier’s manuals should stipulate how the supplier intends to monitor its employees and state whether the supplier intends to exercise periodic control or whether monitoring will only occur if the management has reasonable grounds to suspect inappropriate activities.

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