iPhone manufacturer won’t hire married women in India, report claims

Investing

Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn—a major producer of Apple devices—has been excluding married women from assembly jobs at its main iPhone plant in India, Reuters reported Tuesday, even as the tech giant seeks to ramp up iPhone production in the country (Foxconn denied the allegations in a statement Tuesday to Forbes).
Taiwan-Foxconn-Hon Hai Group-Vaccines-COVID-19

Current and former employees listed pregnancy and family responsibilities as several reasons why married women are not hired at the plant, according to the report. Foxconn denies any discrimination.

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • Foxconn doesn’t hire married women at its main plant due to increased responsibilities they face compared to unmarried women, a former HR executive listed as S. Paul told Reuters, which said the claims were corroborated by 17 employees across the manufacturer’s hiring agencies, and four current and former HR executives.
  • Foxconn executives relay such guidelines to hiring agencies, Reuters reported, and sources listed pregnancy, absenteeism, family responsibilities—and traditional jewelry worn by married Hindu women that could allegedly interfere with manufacturing—as some reasons for the exclusions.
  • The plant does hire married women during labor shortages and periods of increased production, Reuters reported, and the two companies acknowledged issues with its hiring practices in 2022, but Reuters ran its investigation between January 2023 and May 2024.
  • Foxconn told Forbes in a statement it “vigorously refutes allegations of employment discrimination based on marital status, gender, religion or any other form,” and added that almost 25% of women are married from its latest round of hiring, and married women “are welcome to wear traditional metal ornaments while working in our facilities.”
  • Representatives for Apple did not immediately respond to Forbes’ requests for comment.
Key Background

Apple and Foxconn’s company policies prevent discrimination based on marital status, though the practice is not prohibited by Indian law, according to Reuters. It’s not the first time Foxconn’s employment practices have faced heavy scrutiny. A wave of worker suicides were reported at two of its China plants in 2010.

Another Apple contractor, Wistron Corp, was accused of unfair labor practices in 2020 at a facility in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. India has become a focal point for Apple’s manufacturing, and a December report indicated the tech giant wants to expand its iPhone manufacturing in the country to assemble nearly a quarter of all iPhones annually within the next two to three years.

Foxconn is also set to expand in India, with a plant in Bengaluru slated to open this year.

Tangent

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, ruled that Apple’s App Store policies are in violation of the Digital Markets Act. The Commission launched an investigation into the policies in March, and a final ruling will be issued on March 25, 2025.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

More from Forbes Australia