Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination.
All companies have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their value chains, regardless of a governments ability or willingness to protect human rights.
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights means that companies must avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. Simply adhering to local legislation or donating to charity is not enough. In order to meet your responsibility to respect human rights as an Ericsson Supplier, you need to have effective management systems and controls in place. This includes policies, procedures and processes covering human rights and aimed at identifying risks, implementing actions mitigating those risks, monitoring effectiveness of such actions, and ensuring sub-suppliers adhere to the same requirements.
To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, you as an Ericsson Supplier shall also establish or participate in effective grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may be impacted by your operations.
- Have you analyzed your company’s actual and potential human rights impacts?
- What concreate actions have you taken to address, mitigate and prevent such impacts?
- Does your company have a way to handle complaints related to adverse human rights impacts and to provide remedy to affected stakeholders?
- Does your company evaluate barriers, such as local legislation or business practices, which would prevent you from ensuring the respect of human rights?
- Does your company have a process to ensure your suppliers, and sub-suppliers adhere to the same standards on human rights?
The human and labor rights requirements in the code
Fair employment conditions
Fair employment conditions are a crucial foundation for ensuring the respect of other labor rights and enabling employees to be aware of their rights.
Some of the key issues you as a supplier need to ensure are:
- Employees shall be informed about and understand their employment conditions. Employees must also have access to this information in the form of a written contract that outlines the basic terms and conditions of employment in a language understandable to them.
- Pay and terms shall be fair and reasonable and comply, at a minimum, with applicable laws or industry standards, whichever is higher.
- Working hours shall comply with applicable laws. The normal work week shall not exceed 48 hours. Hours worked beyond the normal work week shall be voluntary, unless legally allowed or agreed through legal means, such as collective bargaining agreements. Other than in such circumstances, a work week shall not exceed 60 hours.
- Except under exceptional circumstances, personnel shall be provided with at least one full day (24 hrs.) off in every seven-day period.
- Deduction from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted.
- Corporal punishment, physical or verbal abuse, bullying or other unlawful harassment and any threats or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.
Freedom of association
The freedom to establish unions and workers’ ability to collectively bargain through a representative organization are important rights in and of themselves, but are also enabling rights, meaning that respecting these rights can, in many cases, lead to the fulfillment of a number of other labor rights.
As a Supplier to Ericsson you need to ensure that all workers are free to join, or not to join trade unions or similar external representative organizations and to bargain collectively.
In some countries independent trade unions are prohibited under law. Even in these countries, it is however still possible to allow for alternate forms of worker representation. Important to note is that it needs to be the workers themselves who elect their representatives.
Freedom of expression and right to privacy
Freedom of expression and right to privacy are two of Ericsson’s salient human rights risks. We require our Suppliers to equally emphasize the importance of these rights.
As a Supplier to Ericsson you must respect people’s right to privacy and human autonomy when collecting, processing or storing personal data of employees, customers or other stakeholders.
Child labor prevention
No person shall be employed who is below the minimum legal age for employment.
Minimum age is the age of completion of compulsory schooling, or not less than 15 years.
However, a person below 18 years of age is considered a child. In case children between the ages of 15 and 18 are allowed to work, they shall not, under any circumstances, be employed for any hazardous work, or work that is inconsistent with their personal development. Personal development includes a child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development. As a Supplier you are also required to ensure proper management of apprentice program attendees and student workers.
Prohibition of forced labor
Modern day slavery, including forced, bonded or compulsory labor and human trafficking is strictly prohibited.
Modern slavery can take many forms, for example preventing employees from leaving their employment, requiring deposits of and withholding identity papers, requiring recruitment fees or forcing employees to commit themselves to work for an employer for an unreasonable period of time due to having received company sponsored training.
Elimination of discrimination
At Ericsson we do not accept any forms of discrimination. As a Supplier you need to ensure that all employees are treated with respect and dignity.
All kinds of discrimination based on partiality or prejudice is prohibited such as discrimination based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, religion, political opinion, nationality, ethnic background, social origin, social status, indigenous status, disability, age, union membership or employee representation and any other characteristic protected by local law, as applicable.
In cases when land rights of communities might be impacted, Suppliers must ensure proper dialogue and consultation with local communities and affected stakeholders is initiated.
This requirement targets so called land grabbing, i.e. when the land of local communities and/or individuals, such as ethnic communities, villages, and/or farm land, is affected due to a company’s business operations. Even if a governmental permit has been obtained for the operation, community engagement shall always be carried out.
Community engagement should be carried out in an inclusive, equitable, culturally appropriate, gender-sensitive, and rights-compatible manner.
Responsible sourcing of raw materials
The sourcing of raw materials is often connected to high-risk and conflict-affected areas. Specific due diligence measures are therefore required of you as a Supplier.
The due diligence shall be consistent with relevant parts of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance, which means that all minerals and metals from conflict-affected and high-risk areas are covered by this requirement.
For more detailed guidance on how to fulfill this requirement, Ericsson provides a separate training on Conflict minerals.
Artificial Intelligence, machine Learning, autonomous and intelligent systems (collectively “AI”) have the potential to contribute to sustainable development and are an important part of our business. It is however crucial to ensure that AI does not adversely impact human rights.
Suppliers that develop AI for or with Ericsson are expected to safeguard that the technology is trustworthy and developed in accordance with globally recognized ethics standards that address potential adverse impacts on human rights. For example, the EU Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI.
Before we move on to the next section, please take a moment to think about the topics that have been covered so far. If necessary, go back to ensure you understand everything. You should see the questions as a guideline with selected examples and not a comprehensive list of items.
- Does your company have process in place to continually ensure compliance with local and international labor standards?
- Are your company’s employees free to join, or not to join, independent trade unions and bargain collectively?
- Does your company analyze risks of modern slavery such as employing migrant or seasonal workers, the use of labor brokers, national legislation enabling poor labor practices etc.?
- Does your company provide clear information to your employees on their employment conditions, including a written contract?
- Does your company monitor average working hours and ensure employees do not exceed legal requirements?
- Does your company have process in place to ensure you do not employ under age workers?
- Does your company prevent all types of discrimination at the workplace?
- If supplying and/or sourcing materials/components that include raw materials, does your company have processes in place to trace the origin of such raw materials and ensure that are responsibly sourced?
- Does your company have procedures in place to identify, document, and follow up incidents and accidents in order to remedy and prevent future events from reoccurring?