The factory forced women to stay overnight and work additional hours without notice, the BBC reported, citing anonymous workers who described a “culture of fear” at the plant.
The investigation, which also includes accounts from workers at factories that make clothes for British retailers Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, uncovered cases of forced overtime, verbal abuse, and coercion — which charity Action Aid attested were common occurrences in the plants in question.
Lax labour laws, low wages and corruption among factory inspectors mean that brands and their suppliers are seldom held to account for such working conditions. One owner of a clothing supplier described some of the mandatory auditing processes carried out in factories as a “sham.”
When reached for comment, Ralph Lauren said it was “deeply troubled by these allegations,” adding that it is carrying out an audit on the factory and “will take appropriate actions to ensure workers are treated and compensated fairly.” The company also said it regularly conducts unannounced third-party audits on its factory suppliers to ensure operating standards are met and is working with suppliers to build HR systems in a bid to advance wage management and compensation.