Brick by Brick: The Business of Rebuilding Liberia
Child Labor Myths
One of the myths promoted by some critics of Firestone Liberia suggests we use child labor. It doesn't make sense when you consider the fact that we operate 23 schools, including one high school, with an enrollment of more than 15,000 children.
I recently saw a report on CNNMoney.com (http://legalpad.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2007/10/20/3-human-rights-lawyers-fined-in-chevron-case/) that a federal court in San Francisco sanctioned attorneys for fabricating cancer claims against another multi-national company.
One of the attorneys involved in that case is also involved in a baseless lawsuit against Firestone. In fact, last June the judge in the case dismissed 11 of 12 claims made against Firestone. We continue to vigorously defend against the remaining claim, which relates to false accusations of using child labor.
The fact is, Firestone Liberia does not hire anyone under 18 and has a zero-tolerance policy that prohibits parents from bringing their children to work or being used as "subcontractors." The Firestone policy of hiring workers who are at least 18 years of age exceeds the Liberian labor law requirements by two years.
We communicate our zero-tolerance policy to all employees through their supervisors, at employee meetings, through signs posted around the property, and through their elected union representatives. Employees found violating this policy face the loss of their jobs.
We believe that the best place for children is in the classroom.
Posted by: Charles Stuart
Managing Director, Firestone Liberia
April 8, 2008