Unlawful Terminations at Trax Apparel (Cambodia) and Inadequate Response from adidas

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Bent Gehrt, Rola Abimourched, and Ben Hensler
Date:October 20, 2022
Re:Unlawful Terminations at Trax Apparel (Cambodia) and Inadequate Response from adidas

Please find here the WRC’s report on our investigation at Trax Apparel, a Cambodian producer of collegiate goods for Triform Custom Apparel, a licensee of adidas.

Here are the key takeaways:

  • The WRC identified multiple violations of Cambodian law and university labor standards at Trax Apparel, including the illegal firing of eight workers in retaliation for forming a union to seek to better working conditions.
  • The WRC has engaged extensively with adidas to urge remedial action, most importantly, the reinstatement of the workers who were illegally fired.
  • Factory management has refused to reinstate all of the leaders and told the workers’ union that it would reinstate four of the eight only if the union agreed to forego the others’ right to reinstatement and give up the right to full back pay. The union signed an agreement surrendering these rights, seeing no alternative.
  • Management reinstated four of the eight leaders, with only partial back pay, and has subjected them to discriminatory treatment since their return.
  • adidas has declined to require Trax Apparel to take further corrective action, citing the agreement accepted by the union—even though an agreement that takes legal rights away from workers is unlawful and even though the union has repeatedly told adidas it only signed under duress and that additional reinstatements and other corrective steps are essential.
  • The WRC continues to urge adidas to fulfill its obligations to its university licensors and require its supplier to remedy all violations of university labor standards, which requires reinstatement offers for all illegally fired workers and full back pay.

Additional important details are covered in the WRC’s report, including the convoluted process through which the leaders were deprived of employment, factory management’s repeated failure to provide allegedly exculpatory documents that it claimed to possess, the role of the Cambodian government, and more information on the WRC’s extensive communications with compliance officials at adidas.

Please let us know if you have any questions.