Corporate Responsibility

The University of Illinois at Chicago is committed to a safe work environment, fair wages, and to freedom from discrimination. UIC requires that all Licensees, at a minimum, adhere to the principles set forth in the university’s Code of Conduct. See below for UIC’s Code of Conduct.

UIC is a member of the Worker Rights Consortium and Fair Labor Association.

University of Illinois at Chicago Code of Conduct for Licensees

I. Introduction The University of Illinois at Chicago is committed to conducting its business affairs in a socially responsible and ethical manner. UIC recognizes the importance of protecting an individual’s right to be employed in a safe work environment, to be paid fair wages, and to be free from discrimination. UIC requires that all Licensees, at a minimum, adhere to the principles set forth in the university’s Code of Conduct.

Throughout the Code, the term “Licensee” shall include all persons or entities, which have entered into a written “License Agreement” with UIC to manufacture “Licensed Articles” (as that term is defined in the License Agreement) bearing the university’s name and trademarks. The term “Licensee” shall for purposes of the Code, and unless otherwise specified in the Code, encompass all of Licensees’ contractors, subcontractors or manufacturers that produce, assemble or package finished Licensed Articles for the consumer.

II. Legal Compliance Licensees must comply with all applicable legal requirements of the countries of manufacture in conducting business related to or involving the production or sale of Licensed Articles. Where there are differences or conflicts with the Code and the laws of the countries of manufacture, the higher standard shall prevail, subject to the following considerations. In countries where law or practice conflicts with these labor standards, Licensees agree to consult with governmental, human rights, labor and business organizations and to take effective actions as evaluated by UIC and the applicable Licensee(s) to achieve the maximum possible compliance with each of these standards. Licensees further agree to refrain from any actions that would diminish the protections of these labor standards. As a condition of being permitted to produce and/or sell Licensed Articles, Licensees must comply with the Code. Licensees are required to adhere to the Code within six (6) months of notification of the Code and as required in applicable license agreements.

Prior to the date of annual renewal of a license agreement, the licensee shall be required to provide the following to the University, as set forth in the license agreement:

  1. The Company names, owners and/or officers, and addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and the nature of the business association of all the licensees’ contractors and manufacturing plants which are involved in the manufacturing process of items which bear, or will bear, the name, trademarks and/or images of the University;
  2. Licensees and their contractors are responsible for conducting thorough, effective and regular inspections of each facility at which University products are manufactured;
  3. Written assurances that it and its contractors adhere to this Code (except that in the initial phase-in period, licensee must provide such written assurances within six months of receipt of this Code); and
  4. A summary of the steps taken, and/or difficulties encountered, during the preceding year in implementing and enforcing this Code at each site.

III. Standards Licensees agree to operate work places and contract with companies whose work places adhere to the standards and practices described below. UIC prefers that Licensees exceed these standards. Licensees shall comply with the following employment standards:

  1. Wages and Benefits: Licensees recognize that wages are essential to meeting employees’ basic needs. Licensees shall pay employees, as a floor, at least the minimum wage required by local law or the local prevailing industry wage, whichever is higher, and shall provide legally mandated benefits.
  2. Working Hours: Except in extraordinary business circumstances, hourly and/or quota-based wage employees shall (i) not be required to work more than the lesser of (a) 48 hours per week and 12 hours overtime or (b) the limits on regular and overtime hours allowed by the law of the country of manufacture or, where the laws of such country do not limit the hours of work, the regular work week in such country plus 12 hours overtime; and (ii) be entitled to at least one day off in every seven day period.
  3. Overtime Compensation: In addition to their compensation for regular hours of work, hourly and/or quota-based wage employees shall be compensated for overtime hours at such a premium rate as is legally required in the country of manufacture or, in those countries where such laws do not exist, at a rate at least equal to their regular hourly compensation rate.
  4. Child Labor: Licensees shall not employ any person at an age younger than 15 (or 14, where, consistent with International Labor Organization practices for developing countries, the law of the country of manufacture allows such exception). Where the age for completing compulsory education is higher than the standard for the minimum age of employment stated above, the higher age for completing compulsory education shall apply to this section. Licensees agree to consult with governmental, human rights and nongovernmental organizations, and to take reasonable steps as evaluated by UIC and the applicable Licensee(s) to minimize the negative impact on children released from employment as a result of implementation or enforcement of the Code.
  5. Forced Labor: There shall not be any use of forced prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor or other forced labor.
  6. Health and Safety: Licensees shall provide a safe and healthy working environment to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of Licensee facilities.
  7. Nondiscrimination: No 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.
  8. Harassment or Abuse: Every employee shall be treated with dignity and respect. No employee shall be subject to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse. Licensees will not use or tolerate any form of corporal punishment.
  9. Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining: Licensees shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  10. Women’s Rights: Women workers will receive wages and benefits equal to those of male workers when the work performed is the same or of a similar nature. Women workers will receive equal opportunity in hiring, evaluation, promotion and in all other areas of employment. Pregnancy tests will not be a condition of employment, nor will they be demanded of employees. Workers who take maternity leave will not face dismissal nor threat of dismissal, loss of seniority nor deduction of wages, and will be able to return to their former employment at the same rate of pay and benefits. Workers will not be forced or pressured to use contraception. Workers who are pregnant will not be exposed to hazards that may endanger the safety of their unborn child.

IV. Remediation Remedies herein apply to violations which occur after the Effective Date of the Code. If a Licensee has failed to self-correct a violation of the Code, the University will consult with the Licensee (for itself and on behalf of its contractors, subcontractors, or manufacturers) to determine appropriate corrective action.