On 03 July 2019, two French activist groups — Sherpa and ActionAid France signaled that the he French subsidiary of the Korean electronics giant Samsung was indicted. According to their statements (Sherpa statement, ActionAid statement), this stage means ‘that the investigating magistrate recognizes that Samsung’s ethical commitments may indeed constitute business practices in which the company, or issuer, is engaged.’ Indeed article L121-1 of the national Consumer Code explains that a business practice is misleading when ‘ it depends on false allegations, indications, or presentations or are of a nature that could induce error.’ In this situation the two associations are denouncing the gap between ‘ the Group’s ethical commitments and the violations of fundamental labor rights, which have been observed in their facilities in China, Vietnam, and South Korea.’ This longstanding legal battle (started over six years ago, c.f. article No. 9425) has already been punctuated by two earlier cases that were dropped by the Public Prosecutor. The current charges are the result of a civil action complaint lodged in 2018 again the giant’s French subsidiary (c.f. article No. 10520), based on new information from a report by the Hong Kong-based NGO China Labor Watch that referred to recourse to younger workers (children under age 16), excessive working hours etc.
France: Samsung indicted for misleading business practices violating labor rights
Planet Labor, 22 July 2019, n°11243 - www.planetlabor.com