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It is disappointing to note that virtually all of the recommendations made by Human Rights Watch in its August 1996 report bear repeating now—more than two years after they were first written—because there has been no discernable change in the vast majority of the corporations’ conduct or in that of the governments of Mexico or the United States.

Human Rights Watch urges the Government of Mexico to
· Uphold international human rights obligations to guarantee the right to nondiscrimination, the right to privacy, and the right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of children without discrimination;
· Acknowledge and publicly condemn pregnancy discrimination as discrimination based on sex;
· Publicly condemn employment practices and procedures that discriminate against women in their intent or impact;
· Enact clarifying federal legislation that explicitly prohibits any company, public or private, from requiring that women give proof of pregnancy status, contraceptive use ,or any other information related to reproductive choice and health in order to be considered for, gain, or retain employment;
· Fortify existing labor-resolution mechanisms by staffing the offices of the Inspector of Labor, the Labor Rights Ombudsman, and the Conciliation and Arbitration Boards with employees who are well informed about federal labor law and by putting resources at the disposal of these offices so that they may enforce federal labor law;
· Under the authority of the Secretary of Labor and Social Security, ensure that existing labor offices at the state and local level exercise full powers to investigate and remedy discrimination in the hiring process, in compliance with Mexico’s obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (cedaw);
· Require the Office of the Inspector of Labor, the Office of the Labor Rights Ombudsman, and the Conciliation and Arbitration Boards to maintain timely and accurate statistics on their investigations, case loads, and decisions disaggregated, where appropriate, by gender and the nature of claim filed;
· Establish and enforce penalties, including fines, to punish companies, foreign or domestic-owned, engaging in pregnancy-based hiring-process and on-the-job sex discrimination in accordance with cedaw provisions;
· Initiate a thorough investigation into hiring-process and on-the-job pregnancy based-sex discrimination in the maquiladora sector;
· Investigate vigorously all complaints of sex-based discriminatory employment practices and punish those responsible; and
· Include specific information on efforts undertaken to eradicate discrimination against women in the workplace, including specific measures to end the testing of women for pregnancy, and the use of such information to make discriminatory hiring or firing decisions in its country compliance reports under cedaw.

In compliance with the International Labour Office’s Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (Convention No. 111), Mexico should

· Pursue national policies to promote equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation;
· Take practicable measures to foster public understanding and acceptance of nondiscrimination; and
· Receive and examine complaints of violations of nondiscrimination principles.

Mexico is also obligated under the North American Free Trade Agreement’s North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, to

· Promote elimination of employment discrimination;
· Ensure that its labor laws are enforced;
· Initiate, in a timely manner, proceedings to seek appropriate sanctions or remedies for violations of its labor law; and
· Publicize the content of its labor law regarding nondiscrimination, thereby upholding its obligations under the nafta’s Article 6, which states, "Each Party shall ensure that its laws, regulations, procedures and administrative rulings of general application respecting any matter covered by this Agreement are promptly published or otherwise made available in such a manner as to enable interested persons and Parties to become acquainted with them."

Human Rights Watch urges Mexico’s state legislatures to
· Amend the charters of state human rights commissions so that they are able to investigate and report on unremedied private sector employment sex discrimination.

Human Rights Watch urges Mexico’s state commissions for human rights to
· Monitor and report on steps taken by Mexico to comply with nondiscrimination requirements of international human rights law in a manner that would promote the eradication of discrimination against women in the workplace; and
· Investigate and report on government officials’ failure to investigate and adjudicate cases of pregnancy-based sex discrimination.

Human Rights Watch urges the United States Government to
· In any interaction with the Mexican government, take up the case of pregnancy-based sex discrimination and encourage the Mexican government to take immediate steps to end it;
· Provide more thorough information on the respect for the right to equality in the hiring and retention processes in the labor force in the State Department’s annual reports on human rights practices.
· Encourage the government of Mexico to meet its obligations under the North American Free Trade Agreement’s North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, including the enforcement of its own labor law and the elimination of employment discrimination;
· Use the nafta labor rights side agreement ministerial consultation process to promote equality for women in the workforce by opposing obligatory pre-hire pregnancy testing or any other practice to detect pregnancy status;
· Condemn U.S.-based corporations practicing sex discrimination in their facilities abroad; and
· Encourage U.S. corporations that own maquiladoras to practice and guarantee fair labor standards abroad, including the right to nondiscrimination.

Human Rights Watch urges the European Union to
· Urge Mexico to investigate, condemn, and punish those responsible for practicing pregnancy-based sex discrimination in their hiring and retention policies;
· Honor the human rights and democracy clause in the interim trade agreement between the E.U. and Mexico, which came into effect on July 1, 1998. In particular, the E.U. should, on a regular basis and as an integral partof its ongoing trade talks with Mexico, scrutinize the country’s human rights record for how it seeks to prevent and remedy pregnancy-based sex discrimination in the labor force; and
· Use Joint Council meetings and further negotiations on a final trade agreement to request concrete information on the situation of human rights in Mexico, including information on available mechanisms to investigate and remedy hiring-process and on-the-job sex discrimination against women in Mexico, particularly in Mexico’s maquiladora sector.

Human Rights Watch urges private corporations that own maquiladoras to
· End the practice of requiring women applicants to provide proof of pregnancy status or contraceptive use or information about sexual habits in order to be considered for, obtain, or retain employment in the maquiladoras;
· End the practice of denying pregnant women applicants work by screening them out of the applicant pool;
· Explicitly prohibit mandatory employment-related pregnancy exams for women applicants or any other measure that would invade a woman’s privacy regarding her pregnancy status and right to nondiscrimination;
· End harassment, intimidation, and forced resignation of female employees who become pregnant;
· Introduce human rights auditing procedures, independent of local managers, that include unannounced inspections of maquiladora facilities to enforce policies barring sex discrimination.
· Take disciplinary action, including dismissal, against personnel officers and other maquiladora managers who continue to discriminate against women workers by testing their pregnancy status, by obliging them to provide proof of that status through the monthly showing of sanitary napkins, or any other means;
· Explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sex in all company information materials, including materials in Spanish that are easily accessible to both management and workers at all Mexico-based company branches; and
· Accommodate pregnant women during their pregnancies and new mothers, as required by international standards and Mexican domestic law, by giving them seated work, allowing them to take maternity leave, allowing them temporary transfers to less physically taxing work, and allowing new mothers time off for breast feeding.

Human Rights Watch urges General Motors and other corporations committed to ending pregnancy-based sex discrimination to

· Communicate their decisions to stop testing female applicants for pregnancy status and to stop refusing to hire female applicants on those grounds to border area and other labor rights and women’s rights ngos;
· Introduce human rights auditing procedures, independent of local managers, that include unannounced inspections of maquiladora facilities to enforce policies barring sex discrimination.
· Put information in Spanish on all applications notifying the job applicant that pregnancy testing and any behavior to determine pregnancy status with discriminatory purposes is forbidden. This notice should guarantee the applicant’s confidentiality and urge the applicant to report any violations of this policy and identify the means to do so;
· Appoint an individual in each maquiladora to receive and investigate complaints about hiring process or on-the-job pregnancy-related sex discrimination;
· Monitor on-site infirmaries for purchase of pregnancy tests as an indication of whether infirmary personnel continue to test job applicants;
· During training or orientation sessions for new workers, explain newly adopted antidiscrimination policies and confidential ways in which employees may report violations;
· Include information about new policy and ways to report violations in book of internal rules and regulations for new employees;
· Monitor new policy by interviewing employees, in a confidential manner, about the hiring and retention processes to determine whether pregnancy-based deleterious treatment is still being practiced;
· Establish transparent measures to investigate and discipline employees who violate this new policy;
· Include information in employee handbooks on the nondiscrimination policy, including information that urges women who are pregnant to report their status to someone in the personnel office who will ensure that changes are made to accommodate the worker’s pregnancy status;
· Post notices in Spanish in the factory in a location where many women workers would see them, announcing the special provisions to which pregnant workers are entitled and urging such workers to report their condition to personnel to receive such accommodation; and
· As an example of the corporation’s good faith effort to implement its nondiscrimination policy, and as a way to urge other pregnant workers to identify themselves so that they can be better accommodated, at a minimum, offer all pregnant workers seated work; additional breaks for the bathroom; additional rest breaks when they are experiencing fatigue or nausea; less physically taxing work; and time off from work for visits to the doctor.

Human Rights Watch urges corporations that use maquiladoras as subcontractors to
· Ensure that subcontracting factories are being operated free from sex discrimination as a condition for a continuing contractual relationship; and
· Monitor subcontractor plants on an ongoing basis by, at a minimum, requiring periodic, timely certification that plants are being operated free from sex discrimination; establishing an independent, impartial group wholly unconnected to the factory to monitor compliance; and periodically visiting the subcontractor plants to review the hiring and retention processes and solicit information from workers on the absence of discrimination.

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