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Garmin responds to claim it illegally ousted pregnant Vietnamese worker

Company statement contradicts worker's version of events

  2422
File photo of Garmin's new product launch in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2022.

File photo of Garmin's new product launch in Taipei, Taiwan, in 2022. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In response to claims that Garmin illegally forced a migrant worker to quit because she was pregnant, the company said on Friday (April 28) that the worker resigned voluntarily because she wanted to return to her home country in order to give birth.

Garmin sent a statement in response to a Taiwan News story reporting on protests from human rights groups and Taiwan People’s Party Legislator Lai Hsiang-ling (賴香伶) about the alleged unlawful dismissal. The Garmin statement contradicts the pregnant worker who said she approached management to tell them she was pregnant, and was subsequently made to feel she had to resign.

“On March 17, the factory supervisor checked in with his colleague and found out that she might be pregnant, so he notified human resources for follow-up care,” Garmin said. “The colleague then voluntary terminated the contract and submitted a statement of resignation, expressing her wish to return home to give birth, and set the last working day as March 17.”

This is in contrast to the migrant worker, who said she told her supervisor about the pregnancy and was visited at her dormitory shortly after, where Garmin management requested she sign resignation papers.

The woman said she was not informed of laws that forbid using pregnancy as an excuse for terminating employment by either an employment agency or an employer. She said she did not know she had the right to maternity leave when signing the resignation papers.

The Garmin statement also said because the woman is in a late stage of her pregnancy, it is not advisable for her to fly. According to the statement, her employment agency is providing necessary care in the interim. The company said if the former employee intends to return to work, they would help to arrange this.

The human rights groups and the legislator involved in Thursday’s protest have been asked to respond to the Garmin statement, but at the time of publishing have not provided comment. A source familiar with the matter said the former employee met with Garmin on Friday, but was unable to provide further details.