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Domestic Workers: Legal Discrimination and Daily Exploitation

They [employers] don't notice that you're about to die from working so hard. Working sixteen hours a day isn't normal.

-- Elisabeth González, domestic worker214

It's become more sophisticated, but the structure of slavery persists.

-- Father Julián Oyeles, advocate for domestic workers215

What is being asked for is not a privilege, but rather a just labor demand.

-- Agerita Gil, advocate for domestic workers.216

Human Rights Watch interviewed twenty-nine domestic workers in the course of this research. The women we spoke with share characteristics common to domestic workers in Guatemala. Nineteen of the workers we interviewed were indigenous, nine ladina (including one Salvadoran woman), and one of unknown ethnicity. Twenty-six workers had migrated to the capital, most at an early age, and almost all of them were live-in workers.217 The average age in our sample was twenty-eight, with twenty-four out of the total between the ages of fifteen to thirty-five. The vast majority came from large, poor families involved in agricultural work. Only ten had completed elementary school; four had never attended school and were completely illiterate. For these women, "domestic work is at once a job and a shelter; it is a family and an activity that adapts readily to the female `personality,'" according to one analyst.218 Twelve of the workers had at least one child; the vast majority were single mothers. Once in the big city, these young women find their jobs through informal networks. Many of the workers Human Rights Watch spoke with had secured employment through friends or relatives who had already made the transition to the city. Others, lacking these contacts, simply went knocking on doors or approached women in markets to offer their services. A few had found positions through newspaper advertisements. At least two associations, San Benito House and CENTRACAP, help place workers in households and negotiate the terms of employment.

The domestic work sector is extremely fluid. Because of the informal nature of the labor contracts, employers can, and do, fire domestic workers without notice. In the case of live-ins, firing automatically means losing one's place of residence. Domestic workers themselves will also leave jobs without serving notice, generally because the pay is too low, the treatment is bad, a particular task in that household is considered too onerous (e.g. caring for the children), they have found employment with better conditions elsewhere, or they have been the victim of sexual harassment or assault. Almost all of the workers Human Rights Watch spoke with had worked in more than one household, while many had worked in quite a few.

Significant levels of verbal and emotional abuse constitute one of the main reasons domestic workers seek employment in a different household. Almost all of the domestic workers we spoke with complained of mistreatment on the job. The abuse often has strong racial overtones. Elisabeth González, a K'iche' woman who had been working as a domestic for five years, stated that "[i]ndigenous women have a bad time of it, they are humiliated a lot because of the traje [traditional dress], they call us `Indian.' They take us all for idiots and illiterates...The illiterate women working as a domestic is more fried than [a piece of] chicken."219 Jesica Gutierrez García, also K'iche', said her worst job was in a household with an elderly woman who repeatedly called her "Indian, mule, stupid." According to Gutierrez, this woman treated her like a dog and always yelled at her. She refused to call Gutierrez by her name, instead referring to her as "muchacha."220 This word, which literally means girl, is commonly used to refer to domestic workers. Julia Domingo, also K'iche', was thrown out late at night after a strong disagreement with her boss, who told her "you're an Indian, you're useless." Domingo said that her employer had regularly told her she was "a dirty Indian, an illiterate."221

Several domestic workers reported that the children in the household were particularly abusive, and their parents unlikely to correct the behavior. "It's there, in the family, when the racist training and education begins, with the maid," according to social psychologist Amanda Pop Bol.222 Victoria López, a Mam, had worked in the same household for five years. The family's sons, aged sixteen, twenty-one, and twenty-six, were rude and abusive. "The boys are very aggressive when they ask for things, they use vulgar words, [like] `god damn it, you're a shit' or `I don't like that shit.'"223 Elisabeth González worked in a household with two girls, aged nine and seven. "The girls would say, don't touch me because you are what you are, a maid and nothing more." When she complained about this to the woman of the house, the woman got very angry with González and acted as if to strike her, but refrained.224

Many domestic workers complained of being given less food or food of lower quality than the family, and of not being allowed time to eat. Andrea Rodriguez Dorado, a thirty-three-year-old ladina from San Marcos, explained that the problem in her job was the lack of food. She had to prepare food for the couple she worked for, and was only given what was left over. "When I told the señora I was not getting enough food, she told me not to be a pig."225 Sandra Chicop, a seventeen-year-old Keqchikel woman from Chimaltenango, said, "To them [ladinos], it seems like we're different people. You can tell at lunchtime, they don't give us the same food. There's so much indifference."226 Silvia Leticia Pérez, a seventeen-year-old Keqchikel woman, worked in one job when she was fourteen where she had only ten minutes to eat lunch and dinner during her seventeen-hour workday. Her employers gave her "a different class of food" than that they ate themselves, she recalled. "They said to me, go eat there, not here nearby. They treated me poorly because I wear traje [traditional dress]."227 None of this surprised Pop, who conducts workshops on racism. "I ask [the participants], let's see, in our house, where does the maid eat, and what does she eat, and when, and people get very uncomfortable."228

As they move from household to household in search of better working conditions, pay, and treatment, domestic workers cannot escape the legalized discrimination written into the labor code.

Wage and Hour Concerns

Domestic servants work long, often unpredictable hours performing back-breaking tasks: fetching water, washing clothes (usually by hand), ironing, washing dishes, scrubbing and mopping floors, dusting, shopping, cooking, making beds, washing windows, walking dogs, and caring for children, among other tasks. The Guatemalan labor code states that domestic work is not "subject to...the limits of the workday."229 In effect, this means that domestic workers do not have the right to an eight-hour workday, as do most other Guatemalan workers.230 The code stipulates that these workers must, however, be permitted ten hours rest every day (every twenty-four hours), eight of which must be at night and continuous, and two of which must be designated as mealtimes.231 In other words, employers can legally obligate domestic workers to work for fourteen hours a day. Human Rights Watch found that, in reality, domestic workers averaged over fifteen hours per day, or over ninety hours per week.232 The domestic workers we interviewed typically rose at 5:30 or 6 a.m., and worked with little or no break until 8 or 9 p.m.

For these long hours, domestic workers do not earn the minimum wage. Whereas Article 103 of the labor code gives all workers in Guatemala the right to a minimum wage "that covers their normal material, moral and cultural necessities, and which allows them to satisfy their obligations as heads of household," domestic workers are excluded from this right. According to the Ministry of Labor, Articles 161 and 162 of the labor code establish that the wage of a domestic worker be decided between the employer and the worker.233 The first of these articles simply defines what constitutes a domestic worker; the second states that except in agreed upon cases, the remuneration of domestic workers shall include, in addition to salary, room and board. An executive decree issued on November 30, 2000, to raise the minimum wage for other categories of workers, excludes explicitly domestic workers.234

Domestic employee wages vary considerably among households, and appear to be determined in part by the tasks the worker is hired to perform and in part by the income of the employer. While the majority of workers we interviewed appeared to earn approximately Q722 (U.S. $96) per month, Human Rights Watch spoke with one live-in domestic worker who had recently earned as little as Q400 (U.S. $53) per month, as well as to another who at the time of the interview was earning Q1,100 (U.S. $147) per month.235 None of the domestic workers we spoke with had ever earned overtime pay. The following cases were typical.

· Sofia Martín López, a fifteen-year-old Mam from the department of San Marcos, migrated to Guatemala City in January 2000. As a domestic worker, she gets up at 5 a.m. every day to prepare breakfast for the household and she finishes her work around 10 or 11 p.m. For this, she earns Q500 (U.S. $67) per month.236

· Elena Bax is a nineteen-year-old K'iche' who migrated from her town in the department of Totonicapán in 1998 to find work in a factory. She worked from October 1999-January 2000 as a domestic employee in between two maquila jobs. She earned Q500 (U.S. $67) per month, working from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day but Sunday. "I almost never got a rest. I cleaned, I washed, [and] I ironed." She had a half-hour for lunch, and a half-hour for dinner.237

· Victoria López, a thirty-five-year-old Mam from San Marcos, has been working as a domestic in Guatemala City for fourteen years. At a typical job, she worked from 6 a.m. to 8 or 9 p.m. every day. Every few weeks, the couple threw dinner parties, and López had to work until much later, often until 1 a.m. She was earning Q300 (U.S. $57) per month by the time she left in 1991.238

· Elisabeth González, a twenty-year-old K'iche' from Totonicapán, came to Guatemala City on her own when she was fifteen. In the second job she held, she rose at 3 or 4 a.m. to start cleaning and preparing breakfast. She worked until 10 or 11 p.m. She left that job to begin working in another household, where again she had to get up at 3 or 4 a.m. to collect water. She would work until 8:30 or 9 p.m. Where she is now, she works from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. "I hardly ever rest, not even for a minute. There's no fixed time for meals. They interrupt me while I'm eating." 239 She earns Q700 (U.S. $93) a month.

· Isabel Morabayer Rodriguez, a thirty-year-old ladina from the department of Santa Rosa, worked from 1989-1992 earning Q100 (U.S. $19) per month. She shared a room with her employer and her employer's baby. Morabayer's workday began at 5 a.m. when she got up to make breakfast, and ended at 9 p.m. At her next job, where she stayed from 1992 to 1996, she earned Q250 (U.S. $42) per month. There she also rose at 5 a.m. to make breakfast, worked all day, and went to bed at 9 p.m. She was fired when she asked for more money. Since September 1998, Morabayer has worked in a household where she works the same hours, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., earning Q550 (U.S. $73) per month.240

· Rosa Lopez Cruz, twenty-eight years old, migrated to Guatemala City in 1990 from the department of Jutiapa. She has been working off and on in the same household for ten years. She now earns Q900 (U.S. $120) for a 5 a.m.-9 p.m. workday.241

· Marisol López Muñez is forty-three years old and has been working as a domestic for twenty-two years. She migrated from the department of Quiché in 1980 when the war was at its worst. She has now been working in the same household for eight years. She does everything, including caring for the children aged sixteen and eighteen. López gets up at 4:30 a.m. to prepare breakfast for the family. The children leave the house early, then López takes her employer, the personnel director in a maquila, her breakfast in bed. López's day finishes around 10 p.m., after she has served her employer a late dinner. She earns approximately Q800 (U.S. $107) per month.242

The domestic employees interviewed by Human Rights Watch worked an average of 15.4 hours per day for an average of Q722 (U.S. $96) per month.243 Assuming these workers have four days off per month, this translates into Q27.70 (U.S. $3.70) per day. This figure is slightly higher than the minimum wage for non-agricultural workers, set at Q23.85 (U.S. $3.18) per day when this research was conducted.244 This minimum wage, however, is based on an eight-hour workday, such that each hour worked is worth Q3 (U.S. $0.40). After that, the overtime rate is time-and-a-half (Q4.5, or U.S. $0.60). If domestic workers were afforded the same rights as other workers, they could be earning, using the averages above: Q23.85 (U.S. $3.18) per day, plus Q33.30 (U.S. $4.44) for overtime (7.4 hours at Q4.5 per hour). This adds up to a total of Q57.15 (U.S. $7.62) per day, or Q1485 (U.S. $198.12) per month. This is over double what the average domestic worker Human Rights Watch interviewed actually earns.

The Ministry of Labor interpretation of the labor code suggests that room and board is factored into the overall remuneration. As far as Human Rights Watch was able to ascertain, none of the workers we spoke with had any sense of whether or how much money was deducted from their monthly wages to cover for their housing or food costs. To our knowledge, no official guidelines exist for how much can be deducted, nor indeed for the quality of accommodation and food. Domestic workers encounter a wide variety of conditions in their different jobs, and there are no minimum standards established by the government to ensure health and safety measures are respected.

Domestic workers do not have the right to rest on Sundays or national holidays. Instead, the labor code states that these workers must enjoy six hours of additional rest on those days (on top of the mandatory ten hours of rest).245 This means that domestic employees can in fact be required to work eight hours on Sundays and national holidays-the normal workday for most other Guatemalan workers. It is indeed customary to give domestic workers Sundays off. However, many employees perform chores for the household on their free day. They are often expected to prepare breakfast and clean up afterwards before they leave, and prepare dinner and clean up once they return in the evening. Rather than giving their domestic workers the whole day off, many employers set precise hours when the workers can leave and must return.

· Rosa López Cruz has been working in the same household for the better part of ten years, and she still does not get every Sunday free.246

· Sylvia Marcela García, a thirty-one-year-old K'iche' from the department of Uspantán, migrated to Guatemala City in 1993. She worked for two years in a household in the mid-1990s earning Q90 (U.S. $15.5) per month for a 5 a.m.-9 p.m. workday. She had to make tortillas, do the cleaning and cooking, and look after the children. She did not know the city so she did not go out at all, and she did not have Sundays off. Her employers gave her permission only once in two years to travel to her hometown; they deducted the days she spent away from her monthly wage.247

· Sofia Martín López gets up at 6 a.m. on Sundays to prepare breakfast for the household. She leaves around 8 a.m. to enjoy her day off. When she returns that evening around 8 p.m., often she must prepare dinner, set the table, clear and wash the dishes, etc.248

· Andrea Rodriguez, ladina, now thirty-three, migrated to Guatemala City from San Marcos when she was nineteen years old. At her first job, in 1986, she worked from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and never had a day off. At her next job, from 1987-1990, Rodriguez did have Sundays free, but she was not permitted to leave the house until she had served the family breakfast, and she had to return by seven o'clock. Rodriguez remembers that on regular workdays she could not rest for five minutes without her employer telling her to get busy. "She said that she did not want to see me just `sitting around.'"249

· Daniela Santos Pérez, a thirty-one-year-old ladina also from San Marcos, migrated to Guatemala City when she was fourteen. In 1996, she worked for a family of seven people, earning Q500 (U.S. $83) per month, working 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. She slept in the storage room. Because there was no washing machine, Santos had to wash all their clothes by hand. "It was horrible," she remembers. "I stayed working on Sundays also because there was so much work. Otherwise, I would never have caught up. Anyway, if I was in the house, I was working, regardless of the day. There was no privacy at all. They would knock on my door and ask me to do things."250

Even when they are ostensibly resting or on their own time, domestic workers are subject to the quixotic rules of the household. As in Santos Pérez's case, they are often required to work during their rest periods if they are in the house. Many spoke of being obliged to remain in the household, even on their time off. Sometimes these rules are quite explicit. Where Santos Pérez worked when she first migrated to Guatemala City, her employers allowed her to leave the household only with the family. They told her that since she did not know Guatemala City, she should only go out to run errands that were nearby. She worked there for five years and only had one day off during that entire time.251 Delia Johanna Velásquez, a seventeen-year-old K'iche' woman from Totonicapán, worked in a household for the first quarter of 2000. There, the señora told her that she was forbidden to go out because the house should never be left empty. She also told Velásquez that the streets were very dangerous and that thieves abounded.252

Employers attempt to control their domestic workers' movements in a variety of ways. Elisabeth González told a familiar story: "The señora didn't want me to talk to other maids, because they are going to say uninteresting things, because they are ignorant. I couldn't even talk to the neighbors, because then they would find out how one lives, and it's better that that stays between employer and maid. I would take the kids out, or go to the store. The señora forbade me to talk to anyone, I had to return quickly to the house."253

Few domestic workers are given keys to the house, making coming and going on their own time practically impossible. Some recounted being locked into the house to prevent them from leaving when no one else was there. Violeta Calel, eighteen years old, a K'iche' woman from Totonicapán, explained that "when the señora leaves, she locks everything. I remain locked in the kitchen and my bedroom."254 Jesica Gutierrez García, a twenty-three-year-old K'iche' from the department of Alta Verapaz, was also locked in her employer's house whenever the employer left her alone. Gutierrez could only access the terrace.255

While some workers are locked in, others are locked out, and suffer sometimes extreme consequences. Julia Sabas was raped by a neighborhood mechanic in a field near the household where she worked on a night when she was left standing outside for hours awaiting the return of her employers. Every week, Sabas went to an English class and returned to the house at seven o'clock. Her employers also had a regular engagement those evenings until ten o'clock. Yet they never gave Sabas a key to the house, ensuring that she would have to stand outside the door for several hours. On one of those evenings, a man she had seen several times before approached her. Sabas said he treated her nice, sweet-talked her, and then attacked and raped her.256

Many domestic workers explained that they rarely asked for permission to leave the household because they knew their employers would disapprove. As Victoria López said, "It was rare for me to go out, the señora would get really mad when I asked for permission."257 Elisabeth González explained that "employers get annoyed when you ask for permission. One time in an interview, they told me, `look cutie, first you are a maid. Second, if you want time off, etc., you have to be a professional'...They tell you, if you work in the house, you don't have the right to time off...[and] that your duty is to keep working."258

Discrimination on Basis of Pregnancy or Family Responsibilities

While domestic workers are not explicitly excluded from maternity rights established for all women workers in the labor code, only one of the workers we spoke with had ever enjoyed these rights. Workers who become pregnant on the job are either fired, or kept on only until the pregnancy begins to impede the carrying out of her duties or the birth of the baby. Only one domestic worker had her employer pay for her prenatal health care.

· Julia Domingo, twenty-one-years-old, a Mam from the department of Huehuetenango who migrated to Guatemala City at the beginning of 1999, was about to give birth when we spoke to her. Her employer and her employer's sister pressured her to give up her baby for adoption. "She gave me the advice that I should give up my child to people who can't have children, so the child would grow up better." Domingo, who was never able to study and is illiterate, had asked her employer to help her get identification papers, which she lacked, but her employer refused to do so unless she complied and put the baby up for adoption. When Julia refused, her employer threw her out on the street late at night, telling her she was a "useless Indian."259

· Jesica Sánchez González, a twenty-one-year-old single mother from the department of Retalheu, has a one-year-old baby. Sánchez told her employer that she was expecting a child when she was four months pregnant. At first, the employer said she could stay, give birth there, and continue working after the child was born. Then she abruptly changed her mind and fired Sánchez eight days before her delivery date. Sánchez paid for her own prenatal health care.260

Live-in workers with children encounter serious problems responding to their family responsibilities. If they are fortunate enough to return to the job after the baby's birth, they are usually obliged to leave their newborns in the care of family members back home. In general, it is extremely difficult to find a placement with a child. Because the majority of domestic workers are migrants, leaving their children with relatives back home means a distant separation for long periods of time. All of the workers we spoke with who had children had difficulty securing time off to visit them. Employers often refuse to give workers time off even when a child is ill.

· Daniela Santos Pérez worked in Mexico as a domestic worker for three years. She returned to San Marcos in 1995 when her daughter was born, but soon decided to migrate to Guatemala City, where she had worked previously, to find employment as a domestic worker. At first, she could not find a job because of her daughter, and then when she did, she was paid less because of the child. She worked in a series of households for short periods of time, including one in 1996 where she had to sleep with her baby in a storage room. She finally found a more permanent situation, where she stayed one-and-a-half years. Her child started walking and fell down the stairs, and Santos had to keep the child locked in her room to prevent injury. Her employer fired her, saying it was too difficult with the child around. Santos returned to San Marcos for a period of time, and at the time of the interview had just returned to Guatemala City to look for work. She had left her daughter in her mother's care.261

· Delia Johanna Velásquez is caught in a bind: she wants live-in work so she will not have to pay room and board, but she has a young child. She has not been able to get live-in work where she can bring the baby with her. She took one live-in job and paid someone Q200 (U.S. $27) a month, or almost half of her salary, to take care of her baby. Then she tried day work, but found she just could not afford room and board.262

· Briseida Méndez, a twenty-one-year-old Mam from the department of Quetzaltenango, was fired because she asked for time off to visit her sick daughter back home. In July 1999, Méndez's mother called and left a message with her employer that her baby daughter was very sick. Méndez's employer did not inform her of the phone call. A few days later, Méndez spoke directly with her mother and learned the news. Her employer refused to give her time off. For the next twenty days, Méndez continued to ask for permission. Finally, the employer simply fired her.263

· Where she worked for three years from 1988-1991,Victoria López, had three days off every three months to visit her child in San Marcos. "They deducted the whole day [from my pay] if I arrived late on Monday," she explained.264

Access to Health Care

Compared to other salaried employees, domestic workers have disadvantaged access to health care. The Guatemalan labor code requires all employers with over three employees to register them with the Guatemalan Institute for Social Security (Instituto Guatemalteco de Seguridad Social - IGSS), an employee health care system. 265 Because of the three-employee requirement, most domestic workers are effectively denied the right to social security. Instead, Article 165 of the labor code outlines the rights and obligations of employers in case of illness on the part of the domestic worker. These stipulations combine paternalism with serious disregard for these workers' rights. Where a domestic worker contracts a contagious disease within the household, her employer must assume all medical costs toward recovery and pay the worker's salary in full until such time.266 The employer must likewise pay for medical attention and medicine to treat health problems that incapacitate a worker for a week or less.267

If, however, the domestic worker becomes ill with an infectious disease not contracted in the household, the employer can dismiss her at will.268 Similarly, the employer can fire a domestic worker who becomes seriously ill, and is incapacitated for more than a week. In these cases, the employer is obliged to pay the domestic worker her severance pay (one month salary for every year worked, or a proportionate fraction thereof for less than one year worked; there is not severance pay for workers who have been on the job for less than three months). The labor code stipulates that this severance pay cannot exceed four months' salary.269 In all cases of illness that require hospitalization, whether the domestic worker is or will be fired, the employer has the duty to pay for her transport to the nearest facility, must pay for emergency care, and must inform her closest relatives.270 In the event of the worker's death, the employer must pay "reasonable" funeral costs.271

In practice, employers take little or no responsibility for the health of their domestic workers. Only one worker we met was affiliated with IGSS through her employers' business. María Luisa González, a forty-three-year-old ladina originally from Quetzaltenango, had been working for the same family since 1980. They affiliated her with IGSS through the family business in 1995.272 Another worker, Victoria López, held out hope that she would be able to affiliate through her employer's business. López had been living and working with the same family for five years. A few years ago, the woman of the household started her own business, and asked López and the other domestic worker (a cook) if they wanted to register as workers there and join IGSS. López said yes, but nothing came of it. "I've been on the edge of asking her [the señora] again, because I do want to be affiliated," said López, but she is worried about bothering her employer. In the meantime, she sees a private doctor and pays out of her own pocket.273

Other workers, like Elisabeth González, believe they will never have the chance to belong to IGSS. One of her employers, a lawyer, told his wife in front of González, "why would we put the maid in IGSS, the cost isn't worth it." 274 What other workers can consider a right, for domestic workers is treated as an optional kindness on the part of the employer. Jenifer Pérez Rosa, now thirty-four, was working in a household in 1987 when she got pregnant and decided to marry the father. Her employer told her if she did not and remained with them, they would register her in the IGSS through the pastry shop they owned. She married, and they never registered her.275

Time and again, Human Rights Watch heard about the difficulties domestic workers experienced when they became ill or injured themselves on the job. Often, domestic employees are forced to work while sick or injured. Sofia Martín López had a typical experience in the job where she had been working since early 2000: "I came down with a fever. I couldn't rest, the señora gave me some pills, and I kept on working."276 Jesica Gutierrez García fell and sprained her ankle while at work in 1997. She recalls crying because of the extreme pain, and she asked to go to the hospital, but her employer refused. Instead, she gave Gutierrez some pills that did not lessen the pain. Gutierrez continued to insist, and finally her employer took her to a public hospital and paid the bills. Once she was home again, her employers expected her to resume her cooking and other duties immediately. "They told me I wasn't going to die, that I could manage, that I could clean even if I had to do it slowly," Gutierrez recalls.277

Employers routinely renege on their legal obligation to pay for health care. In 1999, Rosa López Cruz started having severe pain in her right leg. She had to pay Q500 (U.S. $65) for the doctor's visit and Q100 (U.S. $13) for medicine. Her employer only paid for the medicine and made López work even while she was sick.278 Andrea Rodriguez Dorado had worked with the same family for ten years. A short while before our interview, Rodriguez hurt her leg. Her employer recommended a private doctor, but Rodriguez had to pay for the visit even though she considered it a work-place injury. Her employer did, however, give her a week's rest.279

Sexual Harassment

Live-in domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and sexual violence in the workplace. Sexual harassment of domestic workers, especially indigenous workers, has been identified as a "widespread phenomenon" throughout Latin America.280 In Guatemala, it is not uncommon for young ladino men-and, far less frequently, indigenous men-to initiate themselves sexually with the family domestic worker. "The men of the house appropriated the bodies of these women, and this continues in the present day," according to Amanda Pop Bol, a psychologist and researcher who has interviewed extensively domestic workers in the Alta Verapaz region.281 Alfonso Bauer Paiz, Guatemala's first labor minister in the late 1940s, told Human Rights Watch that "there are cases of parents who want their son to have his first sexual experiences with the young woman employed as a domestic."282

One third of the domestic workers Human Rights Watch interviewed reported having suffered some kind of unwanted sexual approaches and/or demands by men living in or associated with the household. Most of the women quit their jobs, and as a consequence, moved out, immediately following the incidents. Only a few felt they could tell the woman (or another man) of the household what had happened; none of them reported the incident to the police.

· María Ajtún, a twenty-four year old K'iche' from Totonicapán, began working as a domestic worker when she was only eight years old. When she was fourteen or fifteen, in 1988 or 1989, the man of the household where she was working tried twice to molest her sexually. "The señor wanted to take advantage of me, he followed me around...he grabbed my breasts twice from behind while I was washing clothes in the pila.283 I yelled, and the boy came out, and the señor left. I didn't tell the señora, because I was afraid. I just quit.284

· Julia Sabas, a thirty-one-year-old Keqchikel woman from the department of Chimaltenango, moved to Guatemala City to work as a domestic employee as a young teenager. She experienced sexual harassment in several houses. When she was fifteen, in 1985, the son of her employer would come into her room and "say ugly things." When she was eighteen, in 1988, in another household, the brother of her employer harassed her repeatedly. "He told me that if I slept with him, he would buy me things."285

· Berta Pacahá, a sixteen-year-old K'iche' from the department of Mazatenango, worked as a domestic employee for one year in 1998 in Guatemala City, earning Q300 (U.S. $45) per month. "I was scared, it was the first time [I was in the city], I didn't even go out on Sundays sometimes," she explained. When she ventured out on two Sundays to go to the central plaza, where many domestic workers congregate on their one day off, her employer complained to her father, "saying I was brazen." Her father made her return home. She then found work in the estate house on a large farm for about eight months. There, the son of the cook raped her in a coffee field. "I threw up. I didn't tell anyone. My mother took me to the doctor, but I didn't have anything, but I kept throwing up. I'm afraid to have a boyfriend, to get married. They say that you will never be happy, men say you're no longer a girl."286

· Jesica Gutierrez suffered sexual harassment in two households in Cobán in 1996 when she was nineteen. In the first household, it was her employer's brother who harassed her. He entered her room forcibly on three different occasions with what Gutierrez interpreted to be sexual motivations, but left when she demanded he do so. He told her repeatedly that she need not bother telling anyone, because it would be "my word against his," and no one would believe her. In the second household, the man of the house tried to molest her, chasing her around her bed. When she threatened to tell his wife, he promised not to do it again.287

· Rosa Angélica Hernández Vásquez, twenty-three, a K'iche' woman from Totonicapán, migrated to Guatemala City when she was only fourteen years old, in 1991. On Christmas Eve that year, Hernández saw the man of the house put something in her drink; it looked like a pill. She told the man's mother, who was visiting for the holidays, who reprimanded him. But later that night, he knocked at her door and told her that he had to go to the bathroom, and that his mother was in their bathroom. When she opened the door, he came into the room with his pants down. He was drunk. He tried to jump onto her bed, and she started yelling, and he ran away. The next day, Hernández told the man's mother and wife what had happened; he denied it. But he apologized to her privately. Hernández left the job two days later, fearing that the man would try to force himself on her again. Although her employer, the man's wife, had to that point always paid her in full and on time, she refused to pay her for the last period worked.288

· Marta Julia López, twenty-two-years-old, a K'iche' from Totonicapán, started working as live-in domestic in 1989 when she was eleven years old with a family in Quetzaltenango. After she had been there four months, the man of the house tried to abuse her sexually. López told the woman of the house what had happened, and she believed her. It never happened again. López ended up working there for five years, until she was sixteen, and moved to Guatemala City.289

· Andrea Rodriguez migrated to Guatemala City when she was nineteen. At her first job, in 1986, she had been there nearly a year when the man of the house tried to make her sit on his lap when they were home alone. She threatened to tell his wife, and he let her go. She worked there another fifteen days while she looked for another job. The man warned her not to tell his wife because she simply would not believe her. In the end, Rodriguez simply left the job, and returned to San Marcos to work on a coffee plantation.290

· Veronica Jímenez Sacaxote is a forty-eight-year-old K'iche' from Totonicapán who started working as a domestic in Quetzaltenango when she was sixteen. After three or so years there, around 1972, she moved to Guatemala City. She worked as a live-in domestic for twenty years in the capital, in about fifteen different houses; she now does day-work in three different homes. When Jímenez was nineteen or twenty, the cousin of her employer tried to sexually assault her one night when he was drunk. She fought him off, and it never happened again. She never told anyone what had happened, and stayed on the job.291

· Angélica María del Artist is a fifty-five-year-old Salvadoran woman who migrated to Guatemala twenty-five years ago. In 1997, her employer tried to touch her bottom as she walked down some stairs. When she resisted him, and complained to the señora, she was told to simply ignore the man and continue working. Later, she worked in a household for one year for an elderly widower and his adult son. The son, approximately thirty-five-years-old, wanted to have sex with her, and she refused. She told him she was paid to do the work around the house, not to have sexual relations with her employers. Del Artist complained to the father, who believed her and threatened to evict his son over the matter. There were no further incidents, although Del Artist claims that the son took any opportunity after that to yell at and upbraid her.292

None of the women Human Rights Watch spoke with had ever tried to lodge a legal complaint against their aggressors. Sabas summed up the feeling of most domestic workers, saying "I never reported anything, because I knew no one would believe me."293 Had she done so, her claim would have had scant chance of proceeding successfully. Olimpia Romero Pérez, an organizer with CENTRACAP, explained, "It's unlikely that women want to file for sexual harassment, because they don't want to expose themselves, because they lack the resources, because there's no law."294 Indeed, Guatemala does not yet have a law against sexual harassment.295

Undocumented and Unprotected

Provisions in the labor code leave domestic workers undocumented and unprotected. While all other employers must provide the Ministry of Labor, at the beginning of every year, a list of all employees-including name, age, nationality, sex, job, number of days worked, and salary-household employers need not report domestic workers.296 In addition, domestic workers do not have the right to a written employment contract.297 Their employers must, however, give them a piece of paper or card that states the first day of employment and the agreed-upon salary.298 In practice, most domestic workers never receive any proof of employment. While most never even ask, some workers are explicitly denied a contract. Rosa López Cruz, for example, did ask her employer for a written record. Her employer refused.299 The result is that the Ministry of Labor has no record of how many domestic workers are employed. The institution has no ability therefore to monitor working conditions, nor can it track data, such as average wages and hours worked.

Maquila Workers: Discrimination on Basis of Reproductive Status

It's difficult to find work anywhere else, and it's easy for the maquila to trick them.300

There's no other work, but I'm tired of the maquila. [There is] so much mistreatment.301

According to VESTEX, the apparel export business group, some 80,000 people are employed in apparel maquilas in Guatemala.302 The vast majority, roughly 80 percent, are women.303 A study conducted by the Central American Network of Women in Solidarity with Maquila Workers found that 37 percent are under twenty-four years of age, while 51 percent are over twenty-five (nearly 12 percent are under sixteen years of age).304 The industry showed a preference for female labor early on for a variety of reasons. First, women are culturally associated with sewing, and are more likely to have had some exposure to this kind of work and to be able to operate a sewing machine more adeptly than a man. Second, women, especially younger women, are thought to have nimble hands and therefore to be more dexterous and faster than men. Third, women are considered to be more obedient and less combative than men.305

Human Rights Watch interviewed thirty-seven women currently or previously employed as maquila line operators. Between them, these women had worked in thirty different factories. Of these workers, seventeen reported twenty-four incidents of questions about pregnancy status or pregnancy testing when applying for jobs at maquilas. Human Rights Watch documented two cases in which workers were fired for becoming pregnant, and two cases in which workers were denied full maternity benefits. In addition, we documented three cases in which workers' reproductive health suffered as a result of maquila obstruction of access to health care.

The vast majority of these workers were ladina; we interviewed only five indigenous women with maquila experience. The average age of the women was twenty-seven years old. Three of those interviewed were under eighteen. On the whole, the maquila workers with whom we spoke had received more education than the domestic workers. The majority had finished some level of elementary school, five had studied in high school, and two had actually graduated. Two of the workers were illiterate. Although the average age in our two samples was virtually identical, 55 percent of maquila workers (twenty-one out of thirty-eight) had at least one child, compared to 41 percent of domestic workers (twelve out of twenty-nine).

In the following section, we discuss a series of gender-specific violations women maquila workers encounter both in the pre-hire process and at work. Many of the workers we spoke with also complained of other illegal practices that, although not gender-specific, have a severe impact on maquila workers' lives. Almost every worker we interviewed complained that maquilas require two hours' overtime on a daily basis. In addition, workers from a variety of maquilas reported that management often forced them to work more overtime to fulfill orders. Sometimes, the overtime hours are paid at overtime rate, sometimes they are not. Pay slips rarely document in detail the hours worked and at what rate. Indeed, many of the workers Human Rights Watch interviewed had never received any kind of pay slip. The maquila workers we spoke with earned the daily minimum wage.306 Most factories use complicated-and often arbitrary-systems of piece-rate pay and incentives based on the total production output of an assembly line to determine bonus pay. Workers complained that this system, while it can increase their monthly income, fosters an unhealthy level of competition among the workers and imposes tremendous pressure to work overtime.

Workers consistently objected to the daily pat-down searches they must endure upon entering and leaving most factories. These searches generally take place outside, near the main door, where men and women form parallel separate lines to be searched by same sex guards. At some factories, like Dong Bang Fashions, S.A. in Chimaltenango, workers are searched first when they leave the building, and then once again when they board the company buses. Several women we spoke with complained that these searches, in and of themselves often extremely intrusive, provided occasions for inappropriate commentary from male colleagues. Kimberly Estrada, who works at Dong Bang Fashions, S.A., said the guards "are very uncivil in their searches, [and] the men make fun of us." 307 Marlen Torres, who has been working at Sam Bridge, S.A. for three years, said that some of the guards there "are very rough." 308

Indigenous women working in the maquilas spoke of being singled out for more aggressive searches. Patricia Gómez, a twenty-four-year-old Keqchikel woman who works at Dong Bang Fashions, S.A., said the guards "search indigenous women more because they think we're hiding something underneath our cortes."309 The traditional Mayan skirt, called a corte, is a large swath of fabric tied around the waist. Sandra Chicop, speaking of her experience working at Lindotex, S.A., said there the guards always touched her whole body. "We Mayan women had to undo our corte, and they put their hands on us. More to us than to ladinas, because our dress is thicker."310 These searches always took place in full view of other workers.

U.S. Corporate Involvement

Monitoring abuses in maquila factories can be difficult due to the relatively low levels of unionization and the fear of retaliation that prevents many workers from seeking help or lodging complaints. Tracking the responsibility of U.S. corporations who subcontract to individual maquilas in Guatemala presents even more of a challenge. These corporations can subcontract to a variety of different maquilas, which can then subcontract among themselves. Some maquilas have standing orders with U.S. corporations, while others have short-term contracts that are constantly shifting. Most of the maquila line operators have no idea what brand names are behind the shirts and pants they are sewing, because the labels are affixed at the end of the process. In addition, it can be quite risky for workers to take labels out of the factories, as management is increasingly concerned about disclosure and bad publicity.

Human Rights Watch was able to collect information about the contractual relationships between certain maquilas and U.S. corporations in a variety of ways. In some cases, we collected worker testimony about the labels being produced in a given factory. In other cases, we drew on documentation conducted by a labor union, FESTRAS, and a women's rights organization, AMES. Finally, Human Rights Watch contacted every maquila where we documented an abuse and asked them to provide information about their production and relationship with U.S. corporations. Where we had information regarding U.S. corporate involvement, either through documentation on the ground or via the maquilas themselves, we contacted the U.S. corporations and asked them to confirm the existence of a contractual relationship. In the sections that follow, we clearly note how we obtained the information and the responses we received from both maquilas and U.S. corporations (See also Appendices D and E for charts of these responses).

Several of the U.S. corporations subcontracting to factories where we documented abuses have subscribed to either their own or an industry voluntary code of conduct. Over the past five years, corporate codes of conduct have emerged as an alternative tool for promoting respect for labor rights and holding private enterprise accountable. In part, this trend is due to the widespread recognition that many governments do not enforce national and international labor standards. Most codes of conduct, inspired by ILO standards, include a nondiscrimination provision. One example is the Workplace Code of Conduct adopted by the Apparel Industry Partnership. The code states, "[n]o person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, or social or ethnic origin."311 Seven U.S. apparel companies have subscribed to this code of conduct, including Liz Claiborne, Inc. and GEAR for Sports. Human Rights Watch believes that corporate codes of conduct are a welcome development if properly implemented and independently monitored; however, these codes can never serve as a substitute for government enforcement of national and international law.

The Guatemalan apparel export business group, VESTEX, has an eight-point voluntary code of conduct. Article 1 of the code states that "[f]ull respect for human dignity will be promoted in order to achieve equality between men and women, preventing all discrimination in the workplace because of race, color, religion or political opinion." The manual designed to provide guidelines for monitoring compliance with the code of conduct states that "the company will not employ personnel using discrimination based on race, caste, nationality, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation or political affiliation in the hiring, determination of salaries, access to training, promotions, termination or retirement."312

Pregnancy Questions and Pregnancy Testing

Many Guatemalan maquilas have adopted practices to identify pregnant female job applicants in order to deny them employment. Female applicants for jobs in the maquilas are routinely required to state whether they are pregnant as a condition for employment. The practice is widespread, usually taking the form of a direct question on the application form, or a verbal question in individual or group hiring interviews. Human Rights Watch found that some maquilas go further and require pregnancy exams. Some conduct them in the maquila, sometimes as crudely as a prod in the stomach by in-house medical personnel. Others require the applicant to supply a certificate, at her own cost, to prove she is not pregnant. These efforts systematically to weed out pregnant workers fit more generally in a pattern of employers avoiding hiring workers with too many family responsibilities. Women applicants are routinely asked, either directly on the application forms or in the interview, how many children they have, how old their children are, and whether they are married. COVERCO, an independent monitoring group in Guatemala, has also documented cases in which workers have had to write and sign on the applications that they will not have more children.313 The candid description of the ideal worker a maquila personnel manager gave an academic researcher in 1990 is still relevant today:

Eighteen to twenty-four is the ideal age. They should not be married because when they are married they tend to have added responsibilities. Before you know it they start to have children, which is a problem. We do not hire a woman if she has small children because it is likely they will become sick, and she will often need to go to the doctor. If a woman is large, she will likely get sick often and have to go to the doctor as well. My ideal worker is young, unmarried, healthy, thin and delicate, single, lives close, and does not have previous experience.314

Claudia Amparo Herrera Gómez, a thirty-six-year-old who worked as a line supervisor at the now defunct Modas One Korea, explained that at that maquila, they did not conduct exams, "but they did ask if you were pregnant and if you were willing to do a pregnancy exam. Why? Because they do not want pregnant workers. They need too many permissions to go to IGSS, [and] you can't be as demanding with them. And you have to hold their spot while they're on maternity leave." Herrera claimed that some women on her line had abused the system. "They missed a lot of time and should have been fined or had their pay reduced. And you could not make them work extra hours, which everyone needs to do. The women complain they are not feeling well and there is high absenteeism." In the end, Herrera added, "I guess I would do the same [as the employers]."315

The following stories are illustrative of the discrimination countless women seeking work in the maquilas in Guatemala face:

· Sara Fernández, a twenty-three-year-old ladina, began working at Textiles Tikal, S.A. in Guatemala City in October 1999. She knocked on the door, and spoke with the personnel director. He told her to come back in two days with her identity card, a photograph, and proof that she was not pregnant. She went to a laboratory and paid Q20 (U.S. $2.60) for the test. When she returned two days later, she was hired as a manual worker (those who, for example, snip loose threads off garments). She has since been promoted to sewing machine operator.316

According to Fernández, in June 2000, Textiles Tikal, S.A. was producing the following labels: Tracy Evans Ltd., First Option, and No Boundaries, all of which are sold by the Tracy Evans Ltd. Company; and Venezia Jeans, sold by Lane Bryant, a division of The Limited.317 She was unable to provide information about what was being produced at the time when she was hired. Mark Cohen, president of Tracy Evans, Ltd., responded to Human Rights Watch queries calling the practice of asking female job applicants questions related to pregnancy "unlawful and...unacceptable to us." He added that his company has "received assurances that in those shops where we have work in process, all management employees have been advised of this impropriety." Although Mr. Cohen did not state whether or not Tracy Evans, Ltd. had a contractual relationship at any time with Textiles Tikal, S.A.,318 the legal representative of Textiles Tikal, S.A. informed Human Rights Watch that it produced clothing for Tracy Evans, Ltd., in October 1999 and June 2000. 319 The factory representative stated that "at no time" does the factory use "such rudimentary methods" as pregnancy testing in its hiring process.

Representatives of The Limited informed Human Rights Watch that The Limited did source products from Textiles Tikal, S.A. between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2000.320 Although The Limited has a code of conduct and an established system for auditing suppliers for compliance, no audit was ever conducted at Textiles Tikal, S.A. 321

· Kimberly Estrada is a twenty-one-year-old Keqchikel from Chimaltenango. In early 1998, when she sought work at Dong Bang Fashions, S.A., she was forced to undergo a physical exam by a doctor on the premises to determine if she was pregnant. In addition, the doctor asked her if she had regular sexual relations with anyone.322

Kye Hoon Kim, general manager of Dong Bang Fashions, S.A. stated that the factory does not use pregnancy testing. The factory has a clinic where such tests are conducted only at the request of employees, according to Kim.323

· Sabrina Clarisa Montenegro is thirty-two years old and had been working at Modas Cielo, S.A. for two weeks when we spoke. A week after she started the job in early June 2000, she had to tell a doctor employed by the maquila whether she was pregnant and whether she was using birth control.324

In a letter dated March 12, 2001, Sebastián Choi, manager of Modas Cielo, S.A., acknowledged that it asked female employees whether they were pregnant in order to provide workers an appropriate job in the factory. According to Choi, the factory stopped the practice in October 2000.325 Mr. Choi sent Human Rights Watch a copy of a letter directed to all employees, dated March 12, 2001, stating that all workers who are pregnant or believe that they may be can opt to be tested; absent this request, the factory will not obligate any worker to submit to a test. The letter also states that the factory will provide an appropriate place and environment for pregnant workers, protection for both worker and fetus, as well as medical attention. The factory also sent Human Rights Watch the original signatures of 149 women (and one man) employed in the factory to a statement apparently giving their prior, voluntary authorization for medical attention in the event of pregnancy. The abovementioned letter was attached to all of the signature lists. 326

FESTRAS documented that Modas Cielo, S.A. was producing the following labels in March-July 2000: White Stag, owned by Warnaco Corporation; Riveted by Lee, a brand of Lee Apparel, a division of VF Corporation.; and Venezia Jeans, sold by Lane Bryant, a division of The Limited. Modas Cielo, S.A. confirmed that it had a contractual relationship with all of these companies.327 Warnaco Corporation told Human Rights Watch that it has never had a contractual relationship with Modas Cielo, S.A.328 In a letter dated March 13, 2001, VF Corporation stated that it has produced Lee knit tops at Modas Cielo, S.A. over the past two years, having found the maquila to be an "acceptable facility" through its inspection process. Ron Martin, director of compliance at VF Corporation, stated that "the issue of women's rights, including the prohibition of pregnancy testing are principal elements in our Terms of Engagement, which every factory has to sign as a prerequisite for doing business with VF."329

In a letter dated April 18, 2001, Anthony Hebron, director of External Communications for The Limited, confirmed that The Limited did source products from Modas Cielo, S.A. "during the past two years," but at the time of writing no longer did so.330 While Mr. Hebron did not respond directly to the specific report of pregnancy testing at Modas Cielo, S.A., he stated The Limited's commitment "not to tolerate discrimination in the workplace on the part of our own company and our factories."331 The Limited did not conduct an audit at Modas Cielo, S.A.332

· When she was fourteen years old, in 1996, Sandra Chicop went to work at Lindotex, S.A., a maquila in Chimaltenango. She worked there for one year in packing. In the interview for the job, they asked her age, how many siblings she had, how many children she had, whether she had to support anyone on her salary, and if she was pregnant. "They sent me first to a room, there's the lady doctor, and she touched my stomach. She said, you're expecting, she insisted that I had been with a man, and I told her no. And then she examined me again, and said no. And I was an adolescent, I didn't know anything about any of that."333

Lindotex, S.A. is now named Beautex Guatemala, S.A. Hark Yong Park, the president of the company, told Human Rights Watch that the factory no longer conducts pregnancy tests and added that they "have felt the need to adopt new policies in the factory and associate ourselves with the world values of human rights."334

· Soel Esperanza López, a twenty-two-year-old with three children, was hired at Procesadora Industrial de Exportación, S.A.(Proindexsa) in 1996 only after she provided a urine sample. The supervisor who interviewed her told López that if she did not take the pregnancy text, she would not get the job.335

Sun Apparel, a subsidiary of the Jones Apparel Group, the licensee for Polo Ralph Lauren, had a contractual relationship with Proindexsa between November 1999-November 2000.336 The corporation did not have a relationship with the factory at the time of the incident. Laura Wittman, contractor compliance manager at Jones Apparel Group, told Human Rights Watch that the company conducted a workplace compliance audit at Proindexsa before giving them the contract. Approval of the contractual relationship was initially withheld "for several reasons, including pregnancy testing." A second audit was conducted in which Jones Apparel Group determined that Proindexsa had taken steps to enter into compliance with the company's operating standards, including the discontinuation of pregnancy testing.337 Indeed, Mayra Alejandra Barrios Pérez, another employee of Proindexsa since 1997, stated that she believed the contract with Polo, as she understood it to be, had brought improvements to the factory.338 Proindexsa did not respond to our letter of inquiry.

· Carla Alvarez, a twenty-five-year-old foreigner who emigrated to Guatemala in 1992, had to answer questions about her pregnancy status and willingness to take an exam at Shin Kwang, S.A., factory in 1996, and again at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. in April 1999 and March 2000.339 Edna Julieta López Méndez, thirty-one and ladina, was asked to state whether she was pregnant when she applied for a job at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. in 1998.340

According to workers' testimony, in June 2000, Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. was producing Cherokee and Merona, labels carried by Target Corporation. Neither Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. nor Target Corporation responded to Human Rights Watch letters of inquiry.341 See Appendix B for a copy of the job application Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. was using in 2000 that includes the question about pregnancy status.

· Maribel González Solís, eighteen years old, started working at Shin Kwang, S.A., factory in January 2000. The application asked her whether she was pregnant.342

The factory did not respond to our letter of inquiry.343

· Flor de María Silva Figueroa, twenty-one years old, began working at Ventas Unidas, S.A. on June 13, 2000. She filled out an application that asked whether she was married, whether she had any children, and whether she was pregnant. The head of personnel asked her the same questions in an interview, and explicitly told her he did not hire pregnant workers.344

According to Silva Figueroa, Ventas Unidas, S.A. was producing trousers for Pierre Cardin in June 2000. Xiomara Solorzano of Ventas Unidas, S.A. confirmed that the facility is the Central American and Caribbean supplier for Pierre Cardin; essentially this means that the factory pays a royalty to Pierre Cardin in order to manufacture clothing under his name. Ventas Unidas, S.A. only produces for the local market and does not export to the United States.345 The factory, according to Solorzano, does ask applicants about pregnancy status "in order to take into consideration the woman with respect to licenses [to leave work], or any other need she may have. The question is not for hiring directly, but rather in consideration of the person." 346 Following our inquiry, Roberto Hirst, the Pierre Cardin agent for Central America, told Human Rights Watch he had asked Ventas Unidas, S.A. to remove the question about pregnancy from their job application.347 Another official at the French company, who wished to remain anonymous, told Human Rights Watch that Pierre Cardin, the founder and president of the company, has no direct control over his licensees and "doesn't police [the manufacturing of his clothing] the way he once did." According to this official, Pierre Cardin would have no knowledge of where licensees produce his clothing or the conditions in those factories.348

· Elena Bax, nineteen-years-old, sought a job at Sertegua, S.A. in February 2000. In order to get the job, she had to fill out an application stating whether she was pregnant. 349

Edgar Alfredo Perdomo Barrientos, general manager of Sertegua, S.A., informed Human Rights Watch that the factory asked the question about pregnancy status in order to better assign work posts, because "the factory has activities such as "ironing, cutting loose threads, transporting, carrying, etc. that require an effort that at a certain time might be harmful to the mother and the fetus." In the same letter, Perdomo stated that in February 2000, the factory's clients were Oxford Industries and Face to Face Industries. Neither company responded to Human Rights Watch letters of inquiry. 350 According to Perdomo, the factory removed questions about pregnancy status from its application forms and interviews as of February 2001 following the suggestion of "enterprises related to the observance of human rights."351

· Susana Aragón, a twenty-eight-year-old ladina, began working for Sul-Ki Modas, S.A. on March 21, 2000. She completed an application that asked if she was pregnant, and the personnel employee who interviewed her repeated the question in the interview.352

According to AMES, Sul-Ki Modas, S.A. was manufacturing a variety of labels for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. between October-December 1999, when they conducted their research. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. confirmed that it has a continuing contractual relationship with Duck Hung, the name under which Sul-Ki Modas, S.A. exports to the United States. According to Denise Fenton, director of Corporate Compliance at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the company conducted an audit of the facility in December 2000 and found that pregnancy testing was indeed a hiring practice. Fenton stated that Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. considers pregnancy testing to be an indication of management practices the corporation does not want to be associated with and ordered that remedial action be taken. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has received assurances that the practice of pregnancy testing has been discontinued, and plans a follow-up audit by the end of April 2001 to verify the change.353 Hugo Leonel Najarro, administrative manager of Sul-Ki Modas, S.A., told Human Rights Watch the factory asked about pregnancy status for two reasons: to make sure pregnant workers were assigned appropriate jobs within the factory and to ensure that the personnel department solicited the necessary paperwork from IGSS.354

· Veronica Alejandra Pérez, a twenty-nine year old ladina, has been ironing and doing other manual labor at Modas One Korea since July 1999. When she started working there, she had to state on the application and again in an interview that she was not pregnant.355

According to another worker's testimony, Modas One Korea was producing the following labels in May 2000: Arizona Jean Co., a label of J.C. Penney Company, Inc.; Villager, a label of Liz Claiborne, Inc.; and Hanes. Sara Lee Corporation, the parent company of Hanes, told Human Rights Watch that it does not have any record of having produced any Hanes product at this factory. In addition, Douglas C. Voltz, vice president of employee relations, stated that Sara Lee Corporation has a long standing code of conduct to which all of its operating divisions are bound and that the company takes allegations of this type "extremely seriously."356 J.C. Penney Company, Inc. also told Human Rights Watch that it found no evidence that any of its suppliers ever used Modas One Korea to produce apparel for that company.357 Liz Claiborne, Inc. verified that another maquila in Guatemala, Shin Won, subcontracted work to Modas One Korea without the corporation's permission and in violation of the contract with Shin Won. Roberta Schuhalter Karp, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs and general counsel, told Human Rights Watch that Liz Claiborne, Inc. suppliers may use subcontractors only with the corporation's express permission and only after a human rights audit has been conducted at the facility.358 Liz Claiborne, Inc. engaged COVERCO, an independent monitoring group in Guatemala, to track working conditions at an undisclosed factory in Guatemala. Modas One Korea closed its doors in October or November of 2000.

· Leslie Alejandra Lejos, a thirty-eight-year-old ladina with seven children, began working at Industrias Modas Gooryong, S.A. in April 1999. The application asked if she was pregnant, and she was again asked if she was pregnant in an interview.359

According to Lejos, she sewed clothing for the Cherokee brand, carried by Target Corporation, between April 1999 and February 2000, when she quit her job. Neither Modas Gooryong, S.A. nor Target Corporation responded to our letter of inquiry.

· María Aguilar, a twenty-three-year-old ladina, was asked to complete an application form including a question about pregnancy in a maquila in 1993, another in 1994, and in Sam Bridge, S.A. in September 1999.360

The factory did not respond to our letter of inquiry.361

· Lourdes López, a twenty-eight-year-old ladina, has worked at Internacional de Alimentos Procesados, S.A. (INAPSA), a food processing and freezing plant, and Dong Bang Fashions, S.A., a textile maquila. Both are located in Chimaltenango. She worked at INAPSA from 1989-1992, and then again 1995-1998. She quit for several months, and then resumed working at INAPSA in mid-1998 and remains there to this day. All three times she started anew, she was asked if she was pregnant. In 1998, she had to sign a form, filled out by the secretary who interviewed her, attesting to not being pregnant. López worked at Dong Bang Fashions, S.A. from June 1992 to December 1993. There, she had to go to the maquila clinic and give a urine sample for a pregnancy test.362

López told Human Rights Watch that INAPSA was processing produce, such as broccoli and okra, for H.J. Heinz Company and Sysco Corporation. INAPSA did not respond to our letter of inquiry. Laura Stein, senior vice president and general counsel at H.J. Heinz Company, informed Human Rights Watch that although the company does not have a direct contractual relationship with INAPSA, Heinz does purchase frozen vegetables from a distributor in California that does get supplies from INAPSA. Stein stated that Heinz was making inquiries with the California distributor about INAPSA and would require a report about discrimination in the factory. If the response is not satisfactory, Stein added, Heinz will instruct the distributor to terminate purchases of INAPSA products for sale to Heinz.363

Mike Nichols, general counsel for Sysco Corporation, told Human Rights Watch that his company buys product from Superior Foods, Inc., which does buy from INAPSA.364 According to Nichols, Sysco Corporation does not have any mechanisms in place for monitoring of labor practices by its suppliers or their contractors. Mateo Lettunich, president and chief executive officer of Superior Foods, Inc., confirmed that his company is a supplier to both Sysco Corporation and H.J. Heinz, and has been working with INAPSA for the last ten years. Lettunich spoke to Human Rights Watch by phone from Guatemala, where he said he investigated thoroughly INAPSA policies. Plant managers at INAPSA assured Lettunich that they do not require female applicants to reveal pregnancy status.365

As mentioned above, a representative for Dong Bang Fashions, S.A. maintained that the factory does not use pregnancy testing.366

· Reina Súarez, a sixteen-year-old who falsified her papers in order to get a job with a maquila, started working at Pacific Modas, S.A. in early 1999. She had to first answer questions about whether she was pregnant and whether she already had children.367

Pacific Modas, S.A. changed its name to Atlantic Modas, S.A. on September 1, 2000. Sam Lee, president of Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), S.A. explained that the factory did ask potential female employees if they were pregnant or not, but no longer does. He did not clarify when the practice was discontinued.368 According to Lee, the factory produced clothing for GEAR for Sports, Aeropostale, Inc., and Target Stores during 2000. Although in his initial letter, Lee stated the factory did not produce for Michael Brandon Sportswear, in a follow-up communication, he said Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), S.A. has produced for Brandon Sportswear since June 1999.369 Lucia Pangan, the chief financial officer of B.J.D., Inc., the company that owns the Michael Brandon Sportswear label, informed Human Rights Watch that her company had no direct knowledge of the Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), S.A. factory. In 1999, B.J.D., Inc placed an order with a South Korean company named Fount, which then sourced the manufacturing to factories in Central America, according to Pangan. B.J.D, Inc. discontinued the dealings with Fount due to unsatisfactory production. Pangan said it did not have any additional information on Fount.370

In a letter dated March 13, 2001, John Joerger, director of Global Human Rights Compliance at GEAR for Sports, confirmed that Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), S.A. was and continues to be a partner factory.371 Joerger stated in a follow-up phone call that the first order shipped to GEAR for Sports from the Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), S.A. factory in May 1999.372 Joerger did not respond specifically to any report of pregnancy discrimination at Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), but he explained that all partner facilities must comply with the GEAR for Sports code of conduct, which specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, among other grounds, and pregnancy testing (except as required by national law). GEAR for Sports has both an internal and an external monitoring program.

Julian Geiger, chairman and chief executive officer of Aeropostale, Inc., clarified that it contracts with Intertex Group, an importer that has used Atlantic Modas (Pacific Modas), S.A. Without specifically responding to any allegation of pregnancy discrimination, Geiger stated that Aeropostale, Inc. requires all of its vendors to sign a letter stating its intentions to comply with the United States Fair Labor Standards Act, with a particular emphasis on compliance with U.S. laws regarding forced and child labor. The statement of intent does not explicitly address situations in which vendors source manufacturing overseas.373

Target Corporation did not respond to our letters of inquiry.

· Leticia Fernández, eighteen, started working at Modas Young Nam, S.A. in early 1999. She signed an application form that asked whether she was married, had children, and whether she was pregnant.374

In a letter dated March 1, 2001, Kun Seo Park, president of Modas Young Nam, S.A., stated that "at no time has this company had answering the question if pregnant or not as a requirement for hiring." Modas Young Nam, S.A. had a contractual relationship with Montgomery Ward throughout 1999, according to Park, but as of a year, the factory "does not have direct contracts." 375 Montgomery Ward declared bankruptcy on December 28, 2000.

Post-hire Penalization of Pregnant Workers

Maquila workers who become pregnant while employed rarely enjoy the full range of benefits and protections afforded them under the Guatemalan labor code. By law, pregnant workers who inform their employers in writing are entitled to a total of eighty-four days paid maternity leave and ten months of breastfeeding rights. The worker must be allowed two thirty-minute breaks every day to breastfeed her child in an appropriate room on the premises, or alternatively, allowed to work one hour less each day. This hour for breastfeeding is remunerated. Once the worker has informed her employer, and through her maternity leave and breastfeeding months, the worker may not be fired except with the prior authorization of a labor judge. Pregnant workers should be accommodated, and their health and the health of the fetus protected.376 In reality, however, management in maquilas obstruct workers' access to health care, including reproductive health care, and do not respect workers' full maternity rights.

Access to Health Care

Access to health care in general, and reproductive and prenatal health care in particular, is a significant problem for maquila workers. Unlike domestic workers, maquila workers are entitled to the employee health care system known as IGSS. The IGSS is supported through a combination of employer, employee, and state contributions. Membership in the IGSS entitles workers to receive free health care, among other benefits. However, many workers complained that they had not been registered with IGSS, even though the maquila continued to deduct their employee contribution from every paycheck. Other workers who were registered reported serious difficulty obtaining the necessary employer permission for time off to visit an IGSS facility. Claudia Amparo Herrera, a former line supervisor at Modas One Korea, told us she resigned in part because her superiors kept refusing to give IGSS permissions to people in her line.377

AMES conducted a survey in late 1999 of 649 women working in fourteen different maquilas in Villa Nueva and found that while 95 percent of women surveyed said the factory discounted for IGSS every pay period, only 52 percent were actually enrolled.378 Thirty-one percent of the women said they were never able to get permission to go to a doctor or to IGSS, and 57 percent said that they were never able to get permission with pay. Of those who had taken time off without pay to visit the doctor, over 75 percent said some amount of money was deducted from their paycheck for that pay period. CEADEL, an organization that services young people working in the maquilas in Chimaltenango, surveyed sixty of their women members in 2000 and found that only five were affiliated with IGSS.379 Kenneth Kim, coordinator of COVERCO, an independent monitoring group in Guatemala, confirmed that obstructed access to health care is "very common," adding that his group documents this problem "in every factory just about all the time. It's a bureaucratic process and the factories are reluctant to lose workers for health care reasons."380

Human Rights Watch learned of some egregious cases in which maquila workers were unable to secure critical health care due to the obstruction of management. Laura Espinosa Hidalgo's story is the most shocking. Espinosa is thirty years old and has leukemia. She first worked at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. from March to June 1999, but quit in order to seek the intensive medical care she needed. She asked repeatedly to be affiliated with IGSS at the factory, in order to get her care through the social security system, but was repeatedly rebuffed. "They kept telling me the paperwork isn't ready yet," she remembers. Yet, they discounted her employee contribution from the day she started. After she quit, for three months she underwent blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and other intensive treatments, including hospitalization. She had to spend her own money (Q6,000, or U.S. $826) for her treatment at a public hospital. She returned to work at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. in April 2000 and was working there when we first interviewed her. A week later, however, she was fired. She had missed the previous week of work because she was sick, and the maquila management did not want to accept her doctor's certification of illness because he is with a private clinic. On the day she was fired, as on many occasions before, Espinosa had that day once again asked for her IGSS carnet because she needed to get medicine, and the supervisor had yelled at her. The real reason she was fired, according to Espinosa, was her insistence that she be given an IGSS card and her need to get medical treatment.381 Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. did not respond to our letter of inquiry.

Both men and women are affected by maquila policies and practices regarding IGSS and work certificates. Women face gender-specific repercussions with respect to access to reproductive healthcare, especially prenatal, birth, and postpartum care. The following cases illustrate these consequences.

· In July 1998, after she had been working at Sam Lucas (now Sam Bridge, S.A., S.A.) for roughly a year and a half, María Aguilar, a twenty-three-year-old ladina, became pregnant. She went to the maquila personnel office to report officially her pregnancy, but they refused to accept her doctor's note. She was told to wait two or three months before she went to IGSS "so I wouldn't get too hopeful, in case I lost the baby." She explained her work at that time: "I sewed on backs, I had to pick up big bundles of 120 pieces, and they forced me to work extra hours. I had a lot of nausea [and] I was really tired. I couldn't go to the bathroom to throw up because they only opened from 8:30-11:30 a.m.. Sometimes I had to vomit where I worked." In October, she woke up with severe abdominal pains. "I thought they were normal, and I went to work. Then I started to bleed, and I went to the supervisor to ask for permission [to go to the doctor]." Her supervisor told her to wait until the maquila doctor showed up at ten o'clock, a couple of hours later. She was the second person to be seen. At around 11 o'clock, the head of personnel finally gave her permission to go to a hospital. Once she got there, the doctor told her there was nothing he could do. She lost the baby.382

Despite repeated attempts to contact them, the management at Sam Bridge, S.A. did not respond to our queries.

· Carla Alvarez, a twenty-five-year-old national of another Latin American country who has been living in Guatemala for nearly a decade, started working at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. in April 1999. She became pregnant shortly after starting to work. When she realized she was pregnant, she spoke to her line supervisor and asked to have her papers arranged to be affiliated with IGSS. Her line supervisor kept telling her he would take care of it, but never did. Finally, he told her she did not have the right to IGSS as a foreigner, even though they had been deducting her employee contribution since the day she began. He also never gave her official permission to go to her prenatal check-ups: every time she went, she lost a full day's pay, even if she had only been away half a day. Alvarez suffered from blood circulation problems during her pregnancy. The private doctor to whom she went for her visits gave her an official letter asking the maquila to suspend her with pay for the rest of her pregnancy. This was denied. She eventually gave birth prematurely at home, with the help of a neighbor. She ended up returning to the same maquila because she was afraid that she would not be able to find work elsewhere.383

Despite repeated attempts to contact them, management at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. did not respond to our queries.

· Lourdes López became pregnant in 1998 while working at INAPSA. Even though her employee contribution had been deducted from her paycheck since she began working there, the head of personnel told her she did not have the right to visit IGSS or receive maternity benefits. As a result, López went for only two check-ups during her entire pregnancy. She had to see a private doctor and pay for the visits herself.384

INAPSA management did not reply directly to our letter of inquiry. Matteo Lettunich, president and CEO of Superior Foods, Inc., a company that buys from INAPSA and supplies to H.J. Heinz and Sysco Corporation, told Human Rights Watch that the owners and managers of the factory "categorically deny" this allegation, and that his own interviews in the plant did not find any evidence to support these claims.385

Failure to Abide by Maternity Protection Laws

Dismissals of Pregnant Workers

Direct dismissal of pregnant workers is less common now than it was in the past. Strong maternity protections in the labor code, and a clear awareness among workers and labor officials about the rights of pregnant workers, have had a positive impact. The practice has not been eliminated, however. According to a Ministry of Labor Inspectorate document, in 1998 and through August 1999, the Inspectorate received forty-two reports of illegal dismissal of a pregnant worker. In the same period, the Inspectorate received twenty reports of illegal dismissal of workers during their protected ten-month period of breastfeeding.386 Human Rights Watch interviewed two women who were fired because they were pregnant.

Miriam de Rosario, a twenty-seven-year-old originally from the department of Esquintla, was six-months pregnant with her third child at the time of our interview. She was fired from her job at the now defunct Modas One Korea at the end of May 2000. When she found out she was pregnant, she did not tell her supervisor because she had heard that other women had lost their jobs when they became pregnant, and she decided she would work until someone noticed. In late May, when she was five-months pregnant, the director of personnel called her into the office and asked her if she was pregnant. The director told De Rosario she had been working there for a very short time (she had started work in late March) and that she could not continue because she was pregnant. The director complained that pregnant employees cannot work extra hours, cannot stand for long periods of time, and do not work as hard as others. De Rosario did not lodge a complaint with the labor ministry because she had heard of another woman who had been fired and had not received any help.387

Soel Esperanza López, twenty-one years old, was three-months pregnant when she was fired from Tanport, S.A. maquila in November 1999. She had informed her supervisor in human resources she was pregnant when she asked for permission to go to IGSS for the initial check-up and to schedule her prenatal visits for the remainder of her pregnancy. When López returned with the IGSS confirmation of her status, the supervisor said she did not believe her because López did not look pregnant. The supervisor fired López, allegedly saying she was demanding too much time off, because of visits to IGSS and because she had taken a week's leave to care for her sick mother-in-law. A couple of weeks later, López filed a complaint with the labor ministry. Her supervisor failed to appear when summoned, so the inspector gave López a letter to deliver personally. After several attempts, the supervisor finally agreed to see López. According to López, she told her that she had no right to a job and that she could file all the complaints she wanted. "Just wait, we'll see who wins," the supervisor told her. López told Human Rights Watch she then desisted in the case because she felt discouraged. At the time of our interview, the maquila had not only not reinstated her in her job, but had not paid her for the last week she worked or her severance pay.388

On February 26, workers at Tanport, S.A. found the doors to the factory locked and a sign indicating the facilities had moved to another location. When the workers arrived at the new address, the security guard told them they could not enter.389 Human Rights Watch repeatedly attempted to call the factory without any response. Letters of inquiry were sent to both the old and new addresses. The courier for Federal Express verified on March 13 that the factory no longer existed at the old address, where a sign did indeed indicate the new address. On March 14, at the new location, the courier found an abandoned building. A neighborhood private security guard told the courier that the owners had simply left due to problems with their employees.390

Maternity leave and breastfeeding rights

The 1999 AMES study mentioned above found that of those women who had given birth while working for a maquila (28 percent of those surveyed), nearly 39 percent had not been allowed to take time off for maternity leave.391 Of those women who were allowed to take maternity leave, nearly 40 percent were not paid their salary during that period.392 Carla Alvarez was one such example. When she became pregnant and was denied access to IGSS, she ended up giving birth prematurely in her own home (see above). The management at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. told her she had to resign and that they would rehire her several months later. Although management did rehire Alvarez, they have so far refused to pay her the severance she would be due for the time she worked up until the resignation. She is not allotted her one hour for breastfeeding per day, as required under law. 393 Alvarez told Human Rights Watch there were two other women at Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. who were about to give birth at the time of the interview, but who had not been given IGSS carnets, and were unsure whether they would enjoy their rightful maternity benefits. As mentioned above, Textiles Sung Jae, S.A. did not respond to our inquiry.

Lourdes López, after returning to work at INAPSA after her maternity leave, was allowed to leave one hour early to breastfeed her baby, but the maquila started counting the ten months from the time she went on maternity leave, rather than from the time she returned to work as stipulated by law.394

Daycare Facilities

According to interviews conducted in June 2000, none of the maquilas investigated by Human Rights Watch had the legally mandated daycare facilities for their employees. The labor code stipulates that employers with thirty or more female employees must provide free daycare services, on site and staffed by appropriate personnel. Only 1 percent of the women surveyed by AMES in Villa Nueva said their maquila had a day care center.395

214 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000. Unless otherwise noted, all names of women workers throughout this report have been changed to protect their privacy and to prevent retaliation. All ages in this report are the ages of the women at the time of the interview.

215 Human Rights Watch interview, Father Julián Oyeles, Project Conrado de la Cruz, Guatemala City, May 30, 2000.

216 "Una ley doméstica" (A Domestic Law), Prensa Libre, August 1, 1999.

217 One of our sample was Salvadoran, while two were interviewed in a town in the department of Chimaltenango where they live and work.

218 Mary García Castro, "What is Bought and Sold in Domestic Service? The Case of Bogotá: A Critical Review," in Muchachas No More, p.121.

219 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

220 Human Rights Watch interview, Jesica Gutierrez García, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

221 Human Rights Watch interview, Julia Domingo, Guatemala City, June 4, 2000.

222 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Amanda Pop Bol, social psychologist, Guatemala City, November 17, 2000.

223 Human Rights Watch interview, Victoria López, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

224 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

225 Human Rights Watch interview, Andrea Rodriguez Dorado, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000. Many domestic workers refer to their employers as señora and señor; we have adopted this usage for the purposes of the report.

226 Human Rights Watch interview, Sandra Chicop, Santiago Sacatepequez, June 18, 2000.

227 Human Rights Watch interview, Silvia Leticia Pérez, Santiago Sacatepequez, June 18, 2000.

228 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Amanda Pop Bol, social psychologist, Guatemala City, November 17, 2000.

229 Labor Code, Article 164; see also Governmental Accord No. 346, Reglamento que determina los trabajos no sujetos a las limitaciones de la jornada ordinaria de trabajo (Regulation that determines work not subject to the limits of the ordinary work day), December 21, 1960.

230 Article 116 of the Labor Code stipulates the eight-hour workday/48-hour workweek. Article 124 of the Labor Code states that certain categories of workers shall have no longer than a twelve-hour workday, except in exceptional cases, in which these workers shall receive overtime for every hour worked beyond twelve per day. These are: employee representatives, those who work without immediate superior supervision, watchmen, those on commission who work outside the office, and "those workers who perform jobs which are not subject to the workday because of their indubitable nature." The code does not explain what this clause means.

231 Labor Code, Article 164(a).

232 This figure is based on a six-day workweek. A 1991 study found that domestic workers averaged sixty hours per week. UNDP, La fuerza incluyente (The inclusive force), p. 169.

233 Communication (letter) from José Girón Cano and Jacqueline Ortíz Morales, Consejo Técnico y Asesoría Jurídica (Technical and Legal Counsel Department), Ministry of Labor, dated August 10, 2000, Dictamen 250/2000. See Appendix A, second paragraph. The only other workers in Guatemala who are excluded are apprentices and sailors. Letter from José Girón Cano and Marco Tulio De León Villagrán, Consejo Técnico y Asesoría Jurídica (Technical and Legal Counsel Department), Ministry of Labor, dated September 25, 2000, Dictamen 290/2000.

234 Government Decree No. 838-2000, November 30, 2000, Article 3. The article states: "...non-agricultural activities are understood to be those included in the Major Divisions numbers 2 through 9 of the cited Classification [the United Nations International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC)], with respect to the private sector, with the exception of domestic work." Major Divisions 2-9 of ISIC are: Mining and Quarrying; Manufacturing; Electricity, Gas and Water; Construction; Wholesale and Retail Trade and Restaurants and Hotels; Transport, Storage and Communication; Financing, Insurance, Real Estate and Business Services; and Community, Social and Personal Services. Government Decree No. 020-2000, of January 6, 2000, which was in effect when this research was conducted, contains the same language.

235 In 2000, the non-agricultural monthly minimum wage was around Q725 (U.S. $97). This is based on a 25-day work month at Q29 (U.S. $3.9) per day (Q23.85 was the minimum wage, and Q5.15 [U.S. $0.68] was the incentive bonus). The vital basic basket (canasta básica vital) for a family of 5.38 people in October 2000 was estimated at Q2,105 (U.S. $281). "Guatemala: Comparición entre salario mínimo y Bonificación Incentivo en el Sector No Agrícola y las Canastas Básicas de Alimentos (CBA) y Vital (CBV)" ("Guatemala: Comparison Between Minimum Wage and Incentive Bonus in the Non-Agricultural Sector and the Basic Food Basket (CBA) and the Vital Basic Basket (CBV))," MINUGUA figures, based on data from the Ministry of Labor and the National Statistics Institute (INE). Communication (email) from Ricardo Changala, verification officer, MINUGUA, February 5, 2001. Unless otherwise noted, all figures in this report are based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q7.50.

236 Human Rights Watch interview, Sofia Martín López, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

237 Human Rights Watch interview, Elena Bax, Guatemala City, June 20, 2000.

238 Human Rights Watch interview, Victoria López, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000. Based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q5.30. This was the exchange rate in January 1993. Figures for 1991 were unavailable.

239 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

240 Human Rights Watch interview, Isabel Morabayer Rodriguez, Guatemala City, June 4, 2000. 1989-1992 earnings based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q5.3; 1992-1996 earnings based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q6 (the rate of exchange in December 1996).

241 Human Rights Watch interview, Rosa López Cruz, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000.

242 Human Rights Watch interview, Marisol López Muñez, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

243 This figure is based on complete data available for eighteen of the domestic workers interviewed.

244 Government Decree No. 838-2000, adopted November 30, 2000, raised the minimum wage by 16 percent.

245 Labor Code, Article 164(b).

246 Human Rights Watch interview, Rosa López Cruz, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000.

247 Human Rights Watch interview, Sylvia Marcela García, Guatemala City, June 17, 2000. Based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q5.80 (the average rate of exchange for 1995).

248 Human Rights Watch interview, Sofia Martín López, Guatemala City, June 25, 2000.

249 Human Rights Watch interview, Andrea Rodriguez, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

250 Human Rights Watch interview, Daniela Santos Pérez, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000. Based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q6 (the rate of exchange in December 1996).

251 Human Rights Watch interview, Daniela Santos Pérez, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000.

252 Human Rights Watch interview, Delia Johanna Velásquez, Guatemala City, June 14, 2000.

253 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

254 Human Rights Watch interview, Violeta Calel, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

255 Human Rights Watch interview, Jesica Gutierrez, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

256 Human Rights Watch interview, Julia Sabas, Guatemala City, June 12, 2000.

257 Human Rights Watch interview, Victoria López, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

258 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

259 Human Rights Watch interview, Julia Domingo, Guatemala City, June 4, 2000.

260 Human Rights Watch interview, Jesica Sánchez González, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

261 Human Rights Watch, Daniela Santos Pérez, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000.

262 Human Rights Watch interview, Delia Johanna Velásquez, Guatemala City, June 14, 2000.

263 Human Rights Watch interview, Briseida Méndez, Guatemala City, June 14, 2000.

264 Human Rights Watch interview, Victoria López, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

265 Labor Code, Article 102. This article actually only states that employers with between three and nine workers must keep records in accordance with the modules adopted by the IGSS, and that employers with ten workers or more must keep an authorized payroll account in accordance with Ministry of Labor standards. This article has been interpreted to mean that employers with fewer than three workers do not have the obligation to pay into the social security system.

266 Labor Code, Article 165(d).

267 Ibid., (b).

268 Ibid., (a).

269 Ibid., (c).

270 Ibid., (e).

271 Ibid., (f).

272 Human Rights Watch interview, María Luisa González, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000. In order to do so, the family placed González on the family business payroll, and registered her with the IGSS as an employee of that business.

273 Human Rights Watch interview, Victoria López, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

274 Human Rights Watch interview, Elisabeth González, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

275 Human Rights Watch interview, Jenifer Pérez Rosa, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000.

276 Human Rights Watch interview, Sofia Martín López, Guatemala City, June 25, 2000.

277 Human Rights Watch interview, Jesica Gutierrez García, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

278 Human Rights Watch interview, Rosa López Cruz, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000. Based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q7.68 (the rate of exchange in December 1999).

279 Human Rights Watch interview, Andrea Rodriguez Dorado, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

280 Gaby Ore-Aguilar, "Sexual Harassment and Human Rights in Latin America," in Adrien K. Wing, ed., Global Critical Race Feminism. An International Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2000), p.368.

281 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Amanda Pop Bol, social psychologist, Guatemala City, November 17, 2000.

282 Communication (email) from Alfonso Bauer Paiz, November 24, 2000.

283 The pila is a stone washing basin.

284 Human Rights Watch interview, María Ajtún, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

285 Human Rights Watch interview, Julia Sabas, Guatemala City, June 12, 2000.

286 Human Rights Watch interview, Berta Pacahá, Guatemala City, June 25, 2000. By "girl," Pacahá means virgin. Based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q6.7 (the rate of exchange in December 1998).

287 Human Rights Watch interview, Jesica Gutierrez García, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

288 Human Rights Watch interview, Rosa Angélica Hernández Vásquez, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

289 Human Rights Watch interview, Marta Julia López, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

290 Human Rights Watch interview, Andrea Rodriguez Dorado, Guatemala City, June 18, 2000.

291 Human Rights Watch interview, Veronica Jímenez Sacaxote, Guatemala City, June 21, 2000.

292 Human Rights Watch interview, Angélica María del Artist, Guatemala City, June 24, 2000.

293 Human Rights Watch interview, Julia Sabas, Guatemala City, June 12, 2000.

294 Human Rights Watch interview, Olimpia Romero Pérez, coordinator of services, CENTRACAP, Guatemala City, June 1, 2000.

295 The experience of Floridalma de la Paz Gallardo, a former data technician with IGSS, illustrates the difficulty of seeking redress for sexual harassment in the absence of a specific law. In May 1998, De la Paz filed a historic case against her boss, alleging he had repeatedly sent her messages through a colleague to ask her out, and finally intercepted her in a dark hallway, grabbed her breasts, and tried to kiss her. She was forced to accuse her boss of "threats and coercion" (amenazas y coacción), the only applicable crime under the current criminal code. In September 1998, the Twelfth Criminal Court (Tribunal Duodecimo de Sentencia Penal) convicted Julio Domingo González and sentenced him to two years in prison, commutable to a fine equivalent to Q5 (U.S. $0.75) per day (based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q6.7). González immediately appealed, and in July 1999 the Second Criminal Court (Tribunal Segundo de Sentence Penal, Narcoactividad y Delitos Contra el Ambiente) overturned the conviction, arguing insufficient proof to establish guilt and criminal liability of the defendant. De la Paz in turn appealed that decision, and in June 2000, the Third Appellate Court (Sala Tercera de Apelaciones Penal, Narcoactividad y Delitos contra el Ambiente) ruled that there had been a violation of due process and ordered a new trial. The trial, which will be held once again in the Twelfth Criminal Court, has yet to begin. In the meantime, De la Paz has been fired from her job at IGSS. All information collected in Human Rights Watch interview, Floridalma de la Paz, Guatemala City, June 21, 2000 and communication (fax) from Walter Raúl Robles Valle, attorney-at-law, dated March 15, 2001.

296 Labor Code, Article 61(a).

297 Labor Code, Article 27(b). This article states that a contract can be verbal also for agricultural workers, substitute or temporary workers on contracts no longer than sixty days, and workers hired to complete a specific task for an amount no greater than 100 Quetzals (U.S. $14).

298 Ibid.

299 Human Rights Watch interview, Rosa López Cruz, Guatemala City, June 11, 2000.

300 Human Rights Watch interview, María Mejía, union organizer, FESTRAS, Guatemala City, June 9, 2000.

301 Human Rights Watch interview, Patricia Gomez, Chimaltenango, June 11, 2000.

302 AGEXPRONT/VESTEX mimeograph, given to Human Rights Watch on June 21, 2000.

303 ILO Proyecto para Mujeres Trabajadoras del Sector de la Maquila (Project for Women Working in the Maquila Sector), "Diagnóstico preliminar sobre el trabajo de maquila en Guatemala" (Preliminary diagnostic of the work on maquilas in Guatemala), RLA/97/07/MNET. The Ministry of Economy told Human Rights Watch in June 2000 that women constituted seventy percent of the maquila workforce. By all accounts, more and more men are indeed working in maquilas. Human Rights Watch interview, Nora González M., director, Department of Industrial Policy, Ministry of Economy, June 21, 2000.

304 Red Centroamericana de Mujeres en Solidaridad con las Trabajadoras de Maquila (Central American Network of Women in Solidarity with Maquila Workers), Empleo Sí, pero con Dignidad (Yes to Employment, but with Dignity), Guatemala, 1997.

305 Petersen, Maquiladora Revolution, pp. 42-43; AVANCSO, Significado de la Maquila (Significance of the Maquila), pp.126-131.

306 Government Accord No. 020-2000, dated January 6, 2000, established a non-agricultural minimum wage of Q23.85 (U.S. $3.18) per day. This minimum wage was in effect at the time this research was conducted. On December 15, 2000, the government increased the minimum wage for non-agricultural workers by sixteen percent to Q27.67 (U.S. $3.68). Government Accord No. 838-2000, dated November 30, 2000. Guatemalan workers are also entitled to a series of bonus payments: the incentive bonus (bono incentivo), the Christmas bonus (aguinaldo), and the 14th month bono (bono 14). The aguinaldo and the bono 14 are each equivalent to one month's salary.

307 Human Rights Watch interview, Kimberly Estrada, Chimaltenango, June 11, 2000.

308 Human Rights Watch interview, Marlen Torres, Chimaltenango, June 25, 2000.

309 Human Rights Watch interview, Patricia Gomez, Chimaltenango, June 11, 2000.

310 Human Rights Watch interview, Sandra Chicop, Santiago Sacatepequez, June 18, 2000.

311 Apparel Industry Partnership Workplace Code of Conduct, (March 13, 2001).

312 VESTEX, Código de Conducta: Herramienta para Mejorar la Competividad. Manual para el cumplimiento de los principios de observancia laboral y ambiental de los miembros de la Comisión de Industria de Vestuario y Textiles (Code of Conduct: A Tool to Improve Competitiveness. Manual for implementation of the principles of labor and environmental compliance by members of the Commission of Clothing and Textile Industry) (Guatemala City: AGEXPRONT), p.11. .

313 Communication (email) from Kenneth Kim, coordinator, COVERCO, dated February 16, 2001.

314 Petersen, Maquiladora Revolution, p.42.

315 Human Rights Watch interview, Claudia Amparo Herrera Gómez, Guatemala City, June 17, 2000.

316 Human Rights Watch interview, Sara Fernández, Guatemala City, June 22, 2000. Price of exam based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q7.68 (the rate of exchange in December 1999).

317 The Limited sold Lane Bryant to Charming Shoppes in July 2001.

318 Communication (letter) from Mark Cohen, president, Tracy Evans Limited, dated March 6, 2001.

319 Communication (fax) from the legal representative for Textiles Tikal, S.A., dated March 13, 2001.

320 Human Rights Watch interview, Claude G.B. Fontheim and Eric R. Biel of Fontheim International, LLC, outside counsel for The Limited, Washington D.C., March 22, 2001. This information was confirmed in a letter from Anthony Hebron, director of external communications, dated April 18, 2001.

321 Human Rights Watch interview, Claude G.B. Fontheim and Eric R. Biel of Fontheim International, LLC, outside counsel for The Limited, Washington D.C., March 22, 2001.

322 Human Rights Watch interview, Kimberly Estrada, Chimaltenango, June 11, 2000.

323 Communication (fax) from Kye Hoon Kim, general manager, Dong Bang Fashions, S.A., dated March 22, 2001.

324 Human Rights Watch interview, Sabrina Clarisa Montenegro, Barcenas, June 25, 2000.

325 Communication (email) from Sebastián Choi, manager, Modas Cielo, S.A., received March 12, 2001.

326 The wording of the document is somewhat confusing. The original Spanish reads: "Por este medio informamos a los trabajadores de Modas Cielo que se les estará tomando sus nombres y firmas para que con voluntad propia den autorización a las atenciones que se les estarán otorgando a las empleadas que se encuentren embarazadas a esta hoja se adjunta carta de autorización tanto de representante legal y coreanos de planta." English translation: "We inform the workers of Modas Cielo that we will be taking their names and signatures so they can give authorization of their free will to the attention pregnant workers will receive attached to this form is the letter of authorization from the legal representative and the factory Koreans." Forms dated March 12, 2001. The forms are stamped "received" by the Ministry of Labor.

327 Communication (email) from Sebastián Choi, manager, Modas Cielo, S.A., received March 16, 2001.

328 Communication (letter) from Stanley P. Silverstein, vice president, general counsel and secretary, Warnaco Corporation, dated March 5, 2001. Warnaco filed for bankcruptcy on June 11, 2001.

329 Communication (fax) from Ron Martin, director of compliance, VF Corporation, dated march 13, 2001.

330 Communication (letter) from Anthony Hebron, director of External Communications, The Limited, Inc., dated April 18, 2001.

331 Ibid.

332 Human Rights Watch interview, Claude G.B. Fontheim and Eric R. Biel of Fontheim International, LLC, outside counsel for The Limited, Washington D.C., March 22, 2001.

333 Human Rights Watch interview, Sandra Chicop, Santiago Sacatepequez, June 18, 2000.

334 Communication (fax) from Hark Yong Park, president, Beautex Guatemala, S.A., dated March 1, 2001.

335 Human Rights Watch interview, Soel Esperanza López, Barcenas, June 25, 2000. According to a worker's testimony, Proindexsa, S.A. was producing Polo apparel for Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Inc., between January and June 2000.

336 Communication (letter) from David M. Uricoli, senior director of Global Human Rights Compliance, Polo Ralph Lauren, dated March 12, 2001.

337 Communication (fax) from Laura Wittman, contractor compliance manager, Jones Apparel Group, dated March 13, 2001.

338 Human Rights Watch interview, Mayra Alejandra Barrios Pérez, Guatemala City, June 17, 2000.

339 Human Rights Watch interview, Carla Alvarez, Guatemala City, June 3, 2000.

340 Human Rights Watch interview, Edna Julieta López Méndez (her real name), Guatemala City, June 23, 2000.

341 Human Rights Watch made the following attempts to contact Textiles Sung Jae, S.A.: fax dated February 27, 2001, letter sent registered mail February 28, 2001, and two follow-up phone calls on March 14 and 30, 2001.

342 Human Rights Watch interview, Maribel González Solís, Villa Nueva, June 25, 2000.

343 Human Rights Watch made the following attempts to contact the management at Shin Kwang, S.A.: fax dated February 26, 2001, letter sent registered mail February 28, 2001, two follow-up phone calls March 14 and 19, 2001, and letter refaxed March 19, 2001.

344 Human Rights Watch interview, Flor de María Silva Figueroa, Guatemala City, June 20, 2000.

345 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Roberto Hirst, Pierre Cardin agent, San Salvador, El Salvador, April 2, 2001.

346 Communication (email) from Xiomara Solorzano, Ventas Unidas, S.A., March 22, 2001.

347 Communication (fax) from Roberto Hirst, Pierre Cardin agent, dated April 3, 2001.

348 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, anonymous Pierre Cardin official, April 2, 2001.

349 Human Rights Watch interview, Elena Bax, Guatemala City, June 20, 2000.

350 Human Rights Watch made the following attempts to contact these companies: fax March 14, 2001, certified mail letter March 15, 2001, and follow-up phone calls March 27 and 29, 2001 to Oxford Industries; fax March 14, 2001, certified mail March 15, 2001, and follow-up phone calls March 27 and 29, 2001 to Face to Face Industries. Perdomo also mentioned a company named Sinary, Inc. Human Rights Watch was unable to find any information about this company.

351 Communication (fax) from Edgar Alfredo Perdomo Barrientos, general manager, Sertegua, S.A., dated March 12, 2001.

352 Human Rights Watch interview, Susana Aragón, Barcenas, June 25, 2000.

353 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Denise Fenton, director, Corporate Compliance, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Arkansas, March 16, 2001.

354 Communication (letter) from Hugo Leonel Najarro, administrative manager, Sul-Ki Modas, S.A., dated February 27, 2001.

355 Human Rights Watch interview, Veronica Alejandra Pérez, Barcenas, June 25, 2000. Modas One Korea is sometimes referred to as Modas One Corea.

356 Communication (fax) from Douglas C. Voltz, vice president of employee relations, Sara Lee Corporation, dated March 13, 2001.

357 Communication (fax) from Peter M. McGraith, vice president and director of Quality and Sourcing, dated March 14, 2001.

358 Communication (letter) from Roberta Schuhalter Karp, senior vice president for Corporate Affairs and general counsel, Liz Claiborne, Inc., dated March 13, 2001.

359 Human Rights Watch interview, Leslie Alejandra Lejos, Barcenas, June 25, 2000.

360 Human Rights Watch interview, María Aguilar, Chimaltenango, June 25, 2000.

361 Human Rights Watch repeatedly attempted to contact the management at Sam Bridge, S.A. at their officially listed phone numbers. There was no answer.

362 Human Rights Watch interview, Lourdes López, Chimaltenango, June 25, 2000.

363 Communication (letter) from Laura Stein, senior vice president and general counsel, H.J. Heinz Company, dated March 19, 2001.

364 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Mike Nichols, general counsel, Sysco Corporation, Houston, Texas, March 22, 2001.

365 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Mateo Lettunich, chief executive officer, Superior Foods, Guatemala City, Guatemala, March 27, 2001.

366 Communication (fax) from Kye Hoon Kim, general manager, Dong Bang Fashions, S.A., dated March 22, 2001.

367 Human Rights Watch interview, Reina Súarez, Villa Nueva, June 10, 2000. In July/August 2000, Pacific Modas moved and changed names to Atlantic Modas, S.A. It is the same company.

368 Communication (letter) from Sam Lee, president, Atlantic Modas, S.A., dated March 26, 2001.

369 Communication (letter) from Sam Lee, president, Atlantic Modas, S.A., dated March 30, 2001.

370 Communication (letters) from Lucia Pangan, chief financial officer, B.J.D., Inc., dated March 6, 2001 and March 29, 2001.

371 Communication (letter) from John Joerger, director of Global Human Rights Compliance, GEAR for Sports, dated March 13, 2001.

372 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, John Joerger, director of Global Human Rights Compliance, GEAR for Sports, March 23, 2001.

373 Communication (fax) from Julian Geiger, chairman and chief executive officer, Aeropostale, Inc., dated April 11, 2001.

374 Human Rights Watch interview, Leticia Fernández, Villa Nueva, June 10, 2000.


376 Labor Code, Articles 151-153.

377 Human Rights Watch interview, Claudia Amparo Herrera Gómez, Guatemala City, June 17, 2000.

378 Asociación Mujeres en Solidaridad (AMES) (Association of Women in Solidarity), Diagnóstico sobre las condiciones socio laborales de 14 empresas maquiladoras de confección del área de Villa Nueva (Diagnostic of the socio-working conditions in 14 apparel maquilas in Villa Nueva) (Guatemala City: AMES, January 2000) (forthcoming).

379 Human Rights Watch interview, Gabriel Zelada, director, CEADEL, Chimaltenango, June 11, 2000.

380 Communication (email) from Kenneth Kim, coordinator, COVERCO, dated February 16, 2001.

381 Human Rights Watch interview, Laura Espinosa Hidalgo, Villa Nueva, June 10 and June 17, 2000. Treatment costs based on exchange rate U.S. $1:Q7.26 (the rate of exchange in May 1999).

382 Human Rights Watch interview, María Aguilar, Chimaltenango, June 25, 2000.

383 Human Rights Watch interview, Carla Alvarez, Guatemala City, June 3, 2000.

384 Human Rights Watch interview, Lourdes López, Guatemala City, June 25, 2000.

385 Communication (email) from Matteo Lettunich, president and chief executive officer, Superior Foods, Inc., dated April 2, 2001.

386 Ministry of Labor Inspectorate document.

387 Human Rights Watch interview, Miriam de Rosario, Guatemala City, June 25, 2000.

388 Human Rights Watch interview, Soel Esperanza López, Guatemala City, June 22, 2000.

389 "Continúan maniobras de empresarias maquiladoras de Tanport, S.A." ("Manipulation by Maquiladora Owners of Tanport, S.A. Continues" ), UNSITRAGUA press release, February 2001; and Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Irene Barrientos, head, international relations, UNSITRAGUA, Guatemala City, February 27, 2001.

390 Human Rights Watch telephone interview, Michele Mata, Federal Express employee, Guatemala City, March 16, 2001.

391 AMES, Diágnostico (Diagnostic).

392 Ibid.

393 Human Rights Watch interview, Carla Alvarez, Villa Nueva, June 3, 2000.

394 Human Rights Watch interview, Lourdes López, Guatemala City, June 25, 2000.

395 AMES, Diágnostico (Diagnostic).

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