Strange Law: The Foxconn Contract

If you do not recognize the name Foxconn, it is a huge electronics manufacturing company.  They make electronics for a broad variety of worldwide companies.  Most of their production is in China.  Examples of their plants are:

  1. Shenzhen, a huge walled compound also known as ‘Foxconn City’, employs an estimated half million people manufacturing a range of products for Apple, HP, Nokia, Dell and others
  2. Chongqing employs an estimated ten thousand persons manufacturing laptop and network products exclusively for HP
  3. Chengdu employs an estimated one hundred thousand workers making Apple iPods.

Persons who are familiar with all three plants generally regard Chengdu as having the harshest conditions.  The Shenzhen factory came under scrutiny following their installing safety nets around the dormitories after a rash of employee suicides.

Well apparently the nets are not being regarded as enough.  Recently the company has begun asking the employees to sign an additional employment agreement.  A translation of the letter has been posted at the Shanghaiist First the employee must agree:

In terms of my own responsibilities, if I have great difficulties or frustrations I will reach out to relatives to resolve them or report them to the company director, I will also agree to contact and communicate with colleagues, personal staff and relatives. However, I will not harm myself or others

Yes, they are signing a contract promising not to commit suicide or go on a murderous rampage.  Because nothing pulls somebody back from the brink of mayhem like knowing that there is a page with your signature on file saying you won’t.

However it goes on:

I agree that, in order for the company to protect me and others, it can send me to a hospital should I exhibit abnormal physical or mental problems.

While the first provision was just silly, the second one is actually causing employees to refuse to sign the agreement according to the Sydney Morning Herald.  The objecting employees say that this sentence gives the company the right to involuntarily commit them to a mental institution indefinitely for what might simply be complaining about conditions or having a grievance against a boss.  Looking at the translation of the text I see no reason to disagree.  I ask: would you sign it?

Then the contract returns to the realm of the absurd;

In the event of non-accidental injuries (including suicide, self mutilation, etc.), I agree that the company has acted properly in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, and will not sue the company, bring excessive demands, take drastic actions that would damage the company’s reputation or cause trouble that would hurt normal operations.

So, the employee is being required to say that should they commit suicide or go on a rampage in the future that they certify now that it wasn’t Foxconn’s fault that they committed suicide and that after they commit suicide they won’t then sue Foxconn over it.

It makes me wonder…is Foxconn planning on suing employees who commit suicide for breach of contract?

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1 comment

    • Randy on August 1, 2011 at 4:36 AM
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    ON NOW: Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group says it plans to use one million robots to replace workers fb… New Post: Foxconn to replace workers with 1 million robots in 3 years.

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