• JCPenney is one of the most popular department stores in North America with over 1,000 stores.
• JCPenney continues to source garments from factories worldwide that are accused of violating international labor rights, despite a company policy of carefully selecting vendors that respect labor laws.
• JCPenney has been criticized for its lax sourcing policies regarding gold, the mining of which is harmful to the environment and workers.
• The NAACP gave JCPenny a "D+" grade for the company's commitment to African Americans and people of color.
• JCPenney has been accused of selling jewlery with unsafe levels of lead.
• Find sweatshop-free clothing alternatives using Go Green.
-- Profile Updated 04/25/2011
Based in Plano, Texas, JCPenney operates over 1,000 department stores throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The company also manufactures several other clothing lines. JCPenney employs 155,000 people and recorded sales of $19.9 billion for fiscal year 2007.
Send Bangladeshi Child Workers Back to School
Bangladeshi garment plant Harvest Rich employed roughly 200 to 300 children to sew clothes for Puma, JCPenney, Wal-Mart and Hanes. In October 2006, the National Labor Committee reported children being beaten, suffering from exhaustion, working mandatory 12 to 14 hour days, and being paid as little as 6½ cents an hour. Harvest Rich fired more than 100 child workers following the publication of NLC's report and threatened to fire any workers found cooperating with the investigation of labor conditions. NLC is demanding US companies sourcing from the factory to supply each fired child worker with a monthly stipend to ease strain on their families and cover essential school expenses for textbooks, supplies, uniforms and shoes so the children may return to school. Read NLC's report to learn more details of the factory. Click on the URL below to take action in support of Bangladeshi Child workers.
No Dirty Gold
The No Dirty Gold campaign sponsored by Oxfam America and Earthworks focuses on changing the destructive practices of the gold mining industry by using consumer pressure. Gold mining often destroys clean environments, harms workers, contaminates drinking water and displaces communities simply to supply the developed world's demand for jewelry. No Dirty Gold calls on consumers to sign its campaign pledge and to demand that jewelers source their gold responsibly. Sears/Kmart, JCPenney, Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer Jewelers have been identified as "laggard" retailers that fail to make a commitment to purchasing more responsibly produced gold. Click on the URL below to take action.
JC Penney Corporation - Plano, TX
- JC Penney Properties, Inc. - Dallas, TX
- JCP Realty, Inc. - Plano, TX
Plano, TX 75024-3698 USA
Compare JCPenney to other companies in these industries
A recent investigation by the Workers' Rights Committee has revealed that apparel manufactures in Bangalore, India have been refusing to pay factory workers more than $10 million, because they refused to comply with the minimum wage increase in India in March of 2009. Approximately 1/3 of all factory workers, or 125,000 workers, in the region are owed back wages by factories, who say they were acting on the advice of the leading industry association, the Clothing Manufacturers' Assocation of India. The factories involved manufacture apparel for many well-known US and international brands including, Wal-Mart, Adidas, the Gap, H&M, JC Penney, Levi-Strauss, Phillps Van Heusen, and Nike.
-- National Labor Committee, 03/04/2010
The National Labor Committee’s May 2006 report titled " US-Jordan Free Trade Agreement Descends into Human Trafficking & Involuntary Servitude," documented a series of worker rights’ violations in Honorway Jordan Ltd. and Atatek Garment textile factories which sew brands for JCPenny. The lack of respect for workers’ basic human rights included the following:
- Human trafficking and involuntary servitude of guest workers
- Confiscation of workers’ passports and denial of legally required identification cards
- Routine work shifts of 15 to 15.5 hours. Typical work weeks were at least 95 hours
- No sick days, paid vacations, or government holidays allowed
- Wages below the legal minimum without overtime compensation
- Sporadic pay
- Inadequate and unsanitary working conditions
- Workers subject to pay reduction, humiliation, violence and threats if production goals not met
Khokon Shaikh, who was forcibly returned to Bangladesh after working for Honorway Jordan Ltd, stated: “If you want to work here you have to accept [current working conditions], otherwise go back to Bangladesh.”
The NLC’s September 2006 update on Jordanian factories reported little progress in the JC Penney supplier factories. The report highlighted labor violations in Atateks Garment Factory, where labor practices remain unchanged. In August 2006, 10 workers were fired, imprisoned, beaten, and forcibly deported. Workers appealed to the Jordanian Ministry of Labor, Jordanian police and the Bangladesh Embassy to no avail.
-- National Labor Committee, 09/27/2006
Target and JCPenney continued to source from the Nobland garment factory in Guatemala despite management's aggressive opposition to union activity and the companies were slow to respond intervention requests by U.S. LEAP. Union organizers were subject to harassment and termination, and the factory was abruptly shut down in June 2005.
-- U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, 10/01/2005
Source URL: www.usleap.org/Maquilas/maquilatempnew.htm#nb
According to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Sears and JCPenney source baby clothes from AAA Inc. in the Philippines, which fails to provide adequate sanitary facilities for workers and enforces tight restrictions on their use.
"Behind the Brand Names: Working Conditions and Labour Rights in Export Processing Zones"
-- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, 12/01/2004
Source URL: www.eldis.org/go/display/?id=18086&type=Document
In April 2003, a federal court on the Pacific Island of Saipan approved a $20 million settlement on a class action lawsuit filed against JCPenney and 25 other U.S. retailers. The lawsuit charged that the companies contracted sweatshop labor on Saipan, a U.S. Commonwealth, and should be held accountable for worker treatment and conditions in foreign-owned factories operating on U.S. soil. According to the complaint, the more than 30,000 garment workers involved regularly worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, often times "off the clock" without receiving any pay or overtime. The lawsuit also accused JCPenney and the other companies of operating a "racketeering conspiracy" through which workers, who are mostly young women, sign contracts waiving their basic human rights and pay recruitment fees of up to $10,000 to secure sweatshop jobs. By agreeing to the terms of the settlement, the companies admitted no wrongdoing.
-- Clean Clothes Campaign, 01/08/2004
Source URL: www.cleanclothes.org/legal/04-01-08.htm
In October 2003, the National Labor Committee (NLC) published a report on the KB Manufacturing maquiladora in Nicaragua. KB is an important supplier of JCPenney apparel, specializing in suit jackets for men. Managers at the KB factory carried out a range of documented violations against Nicaraguan as well as international labor laws. Among the violations, workers cited forced overtime work, inaccurate or withheld overtime pay, extreme heat, unsafe cafeteria food, poor lighting, inadequate toilet facilities, and constant threats to move the factory if workers failed to increase productivity.
-- National Labor Committee, 10/01/2003
Source URL: www.nlcnet.org
A July 2003 investigation by the Philippine Daily Inquirer uncovered sweatshop abuses by Anvil Ensembles, a producer of baby clothes. The Inquirer exposed instances of management giving workers amphetamines to keep them awake for 48- and 72-hour shifts, failing to pay minimum wages, and providing substandard latrines. JC Penney and Sears both subcontracted with Anvil as of July 2003.
-- Philippine Daily Inquirer, 07/03/2003
According to CorpWatch, a nonprofit organization that monitors the behavior of large corporations, JCPenney is one of several U.S. corporations employing 40 thousand factory workers in Jordan’s Qualified Industrial Zones. Posited as a product of Jordan’s 1994 peace agreement with Israel, which permitted Jordan to export products duty free to the United States provided at least eight percent of their industrial inputs come from Israel, these factories have yet to establish standards for treatment of workers. Of the 40 thousand workers in the Qualified Industrial Zones, fewer than half are Jordanian. Ninety percent are women under the age of 22, and most pay the minimum wage, about $3.50 a day. A Jordanian human rights official described the workers’ living conditions as complying with minimum human rights standards permitted by US retailers. "There are 80 people per floor, ten rooms in each," he explained, "there are eight people per room and five and a half square feet of space for each according to JCPenney's specifications."
-- CorpWatch, 02/26/2003
Source URL: www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=5688
Health and Safety
In 2003, Federated Department Stores, Kmart and JCPenney were among the list of retailers implicated for selling costume jewelry containing unsafe levels of lead. The Center for Environmental Health selected hundreds of pieces of costume jewelry to undergo safety testing, and more than one-third of the items chosen had concentrations of lead that could pose a significant health risk to children and adults alike.
-- Center for Environmental Health, 01/27/2006
Source URL: www.cehca.org/jewelry.htm
Ethics and Governance
JC Penney Corporation Inc was recently ordered to pay $50,000 to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of Reinell Singh. Singh, an African American who worked as a greeter at the Staten Island store, claimed that her supervisor referred to her several times using racial slurs and subsequently fired her for racial reasons. In addition to the compensatory damages, the department store is required to adopt a non-discrimination policy and complaint procedures, and anti-discrimination training.
-- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 02/12/2009
JCPenney received a "D+" grade on the 2006 NAACP Economic Reciprocity Initiative report. The grade reflects a measurement of corporate America's commitment to the African American citizenry and other people of color. Companies were surveyed for their activity in employment, vendor development and contracting, advertising and marketing, dealerships and philanthropy.
-- NAACP, 07/03/2006
-- Forest Ethics, 12/09/2009