WRC Factory Investigation

Horizon Outdoor

Factory: Horizon Outdoor

Key Buyers: VF

Last Updated: 2018

Case Summary

The WRC investigated a complaint filed by workers at the Horizon Outdoor factory in Cambodia, which resulted in the successful remediation of labor and university code violations in August-September 2017. At the time, Horizon Outdoor was disclosed as a manufacturer of collegiate licensed products for the VF Corporation brand (VF) JanSport, as well as other non-collegiate licensed products under VF including Vans, Eastpak, and The NorthFace.

As detailed in this new report, the WRC, working in collaboration with VF, successfully reversed an attempt by the factory management to retaliatorily discharge more than 50 of the facility’s employees. In August 2017, the WRC received a complaint that the management at Horizon Outdoor had terminated a worker who was democratically elected as the officer of a recently-formed union. The WRC’s investigation found that Horizon Outdoor’s threats to terminate 50 workers and the successful termination of one union officer violated both Cambodian law and international labor standards (and, thereby, university codes of conduct, as well).

The WRC met with local VF representatives in Cambodia and the factory management, and recommended that Horizon Outdoor reinstate the employee union officer to his former position at the factory and pay him back wages, and rescind its announcement of the pending terminations of the 50 other employees. Horizon Outdoor and VF responded promptly and positively to the WRC’s recommendations; in early October 2017, the factory not only reinstated the dismissed employee with full back pay, but also withdrew its plan to terminate the 50 other workers.

The constructive approach that VF displayed in this particular case and beyond, is a direct result of ongoing engagement with the company by the university community over the past several years. Though VF is no longer a university licensee, the WRC hopes for continued dialogue with VF concerning labor rights issues in its supply chains for non-collegiate brands.

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