Running our day-to-day operations in alignment with the highest ethical practices and standards is the way we do business.
Our ethical conduct is guided by our Core Values, Code of Conduct, Team Behaviors (also known as our 5Cs) and Team Member Promise, which outline team member rights, beneﬁts and responsibilities. Policies and practices follow the human rights principles set forth in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. Team member rights are further strengthened through regular communication, including annual compliance training, our Social Compliance auditing program and our Ethics Help Line. As we grow our business internationally, we onboard new locations by ensuring key policies are disseminated and new team members are incorporated into our communications and training.
We require all of our team members and directors to participate in annual compliance training to reinforce their understanding that our Code of Conduct and policies prohibit any kind of illegal or unethical behavior and that they are obligated to report suspected violations promptly.
Our Supplier Code of Conduct sets forth the principles and ethical standards we strive to achieve and describes our expectations for supplier adherence to the same standards. The Supplier Code of Conduct is also linked in purchase order terms and conditions and applicable contracts.
Since the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the burden of determining who is legally eligible to work in the U.S. has been on employers. This has been particularly challenging to the meat industry, which has historically attracted immigrants and refugees because we offer well-paying entry-level jobs and benefits. Tyson Foods has taken some important steps to ensure the validity of team members’ employment status, including:
- E-Verification, which helps participating businesses electronically verify the employment eligibility of new hires.
- Voluntary participation in the Social Security Number Verification Service.
- Participation in the IMAGE program, which enables businesses that meet rigorous standards to partner with the federal government to make sure they’re employing people authorized to work in the U.S.
- Training of hiring managers on employment documentation procedures and work to increase their awareness of identification fraud. We regularly audit employment documents, as well as our hiring process, and we use an independent third party to audit our hiring practices.
Social Compliance Program
Our Social Compliance program began in 2015 and allows us to be proactive in our social compliance efforts. Our goal is to ensure our team members understand their rights, beneﬁts and responsibilities while also providing our customers visibility into our workplace conditions, which include worker treatment, voice, compensation and safety, so they have reasonable assurance of our commitment to social responsibility. Key elements of the program include:
- Maintaining a Social Compliance Committee (SCC) to provide oversight.
- Responding to all self-assessment questionnaires.
- Maintaining memberships in Sedex and SAFESUPPLY, which are external customer-supplier data exchanges dedicated to empowering responsible supply chains.
- Using a reputable third-party ﬁrm to provide audit services.
In FY2019, we began using Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) a membership organization criteria to audit our production facilities. We also continued to use the Workplace Conditions Assessment (WCA) criteria, which we have used since 2014, for some of our facilities. In FY2020 we will transition fully to using the SMETA criteria. SMETA auditors use global social compliance audit criteria to verify adherence to the four pillars of social compliance standards in labor, health and safety, environment and business integrity. Our comprehensive audit program is efficient and effective for us and our customers.
In FY2019, 37 production facilities were audited (using a combination of SMETA and WCA criteria), with half of the facilities having one or no findings. The findings were related to:
- Health and safety requirements such as electrical panels, emergency egress and ﬁre extinguisher location and number.
- Labor that involved overtime hours and consecutive workdays. All findings were in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. We confirmed that our team members chose to work overtime hours in excess of 60 hours per week and were properly paid for all hours worked. Management continues to look for opportunities to reduce overtime and consecutive workdays.
- Environmental findings are based on historical noncompliance events.
While we are proud of our overall performance against the audit criteria, we recognize there are opportunities for improvement. All findings were remediated, and management systems are reviewed to prevent similar future findings.
Pledge Against Human Trafficking
Tyson Foods has pledged support for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking initiative, which urges transportation industry leaders to combat human trafficking through employee education, raising public awareness and sharing relevant data to measure the effort’s collective impact.
Ethics Help Line
At Tyson Foods, team members’ voices are meant to be heard. All team members are actively encouraged to speak with local management, human resources representatives, or to contact the Ethics and Compliance department or the human resources director regarding any ethics questions, complaints or concerns they may have.
We provide a toll-free number and web-based reporting mechanism for team members to report suspected violations of our Code of Conduct or the law. The Ethics Help Line is operated by an independent third party and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in multiple languages, with an option to remain anonymous, where permitted by law. We do not tolerate retaliation in any form against any team member for raising concerns.
1Employment Practices was formerly called Employee Matters. It includes items such as concerns about attendance points, discipline or fellow team members.
In FY2019, we added a new option on the Ethics Help Line’s web reporting page that allows a team member to ask a question about policies, or to request an ethics opinion. This option gives team members an additional communication channel through which to seek clarification on ethics and compliance issues and also provides us with visibility into common questions. We also added in-country numbers to serve our newly acquired team members in various countries.
During FY2019, our Ethics Department received 5,527 contacts related to Employment Practices. Of the investigated contacts, 75% were deemed unsubstantiated. The remaining 25% of calls were substantiated and resolved. While the option to report anonymously is available, 60% of team members making reports in FY2019 chose to provide contact information. In comparison data provided by a reputable benchmarking report shows, on average, 58% of those who contact a company hotline provide contact information This volume, combined with callers’ willingness to provide contact information, shows that our team members know how to use the process and are not hesitant to do so, consistent with our dedication to maintaining a workplace culture in which we can all ask questions and raise concerns without fear of retaliation.