30 Dark Secrets About H&M Revealed By Former Employees

By Anna Collins 11 months ago

1. Atrocities happen within their factories

Image source: vox
Within the clothing factories, there were horrific reports of the treatment of factory workers in Asia. There was violence against women and r*pe which would happen on a frequent basis. Managers would abuse the workers, using violence and sexual violence against them.

2. Workers were prevented from going to the toilet

Image source: cbs
Being able to go to the toilet is a basic human right. But, many of these factory workers were denied the right to go to the bathroom because of the deadlines imposed by the company which made it impossible to reach them. Managers would decline their needs for the toilet and fire people to continue to work.

3. They were spying on employees

Image source: newsweek
There was a huge scandal when H&M were sued around $40 million for illegally surveilling hundreds and hundreds of their employees at a service centre in Nuremberg. The cameras had been placed there secretly, so that workers were not aware that they were being recorded.

4. They are guilty of greenwashing

Image source: Reddit
H&M launched a huge campaign around sustainability which deemed many of their products as a sustainable choice. However, it has been revealed that much of this is just purely greenwashing. What they are claiming is sustainable (more than half) is actually often not.

5. They have made racist garments

Image source: sourcingjournal
H&M have been called out for its use of casual racism. It printed a slogan tee with extremely racist words on the front. After the immediate backlash it called, they discontinued the item and issued an apology. However, the damage at this point had already been done.

6. They were criticised for undermining poverty

Image source: Reddit
They were also called out for printing slogan tees with inappropriate wording that diminished and undermined the terrible effects of poverty. The T-shirts said things such as, 'unemployed' and 'nothing to do, nowhere to go'. But, again the company was met with severe backlash for their insensitivity.

7. Their female workers face DAILY abuse

Image source: USAtoday
The female garment workers of H&M working in the factories in Asia face daily abuse. They are consistently mistreated and abused. Reports have shown that H&M had horrendous amounts of gender based violence within the factories which make the products that the consumer then buys.

8. They burn clothes!

Image source: Reddit
In the middle of a climate crisis, H&M have been found to have been burning clothes in a Swedish factory. They claimed that the stock being burned was unfit to be worn due to being unsafe. However, this is unknown. The scandal remains however, that burning clothes is extremely wasteful and harmful to the environment.

9. They produced tonnes of unsafe clothes

Image source: Reddit
H&M produced tonnes of clothes which were not actually fit to be worn, and so they were not allowed to be sold. The chemicals in them were deemed unsafe, and so they were hazardous for humans and could not be worn. Again, it contributes to the huge waste they have created.

10. Unreasonable product targets

Image source: nzherald
H&M as a company set unreasonable targets to produce so many products in a certain amount of time. Yet these product targets are huge and the time given to produce them is unrealistic. And using workers to create these products in such amounts of time is inhumane.

11. Workers have terrible working conditions

Image source: vox
Workers in the factories are extremely underpaid. They also work overtime, and they are not paid for overtime rates, rather they are still paid the bare minimum. They are under immense pressure, with terrible working conditions and no time. The practices from H&M are totally immoral.

12. They put their workers at risk

Image source: thetalko
In fact, the company is completely responsible for putting workers at risk, just to avoid upping their costs. A report filed stated that 8,000 workers from Cambodia collapsed whilst creating stock. This shows just how dangerous and unfair the company treatment of factory workers is.

13. They're one of the biggest polluters

Image source: banasa
So, as of 2021 they were officially declared one of the biggest fast fashion polluters. And, it seems that there have been no drastic changes which have been made up until now, meaning that the company are still one of the worst polluters in the fashion industry right now.

14. H&M pioneered fast fashion

Image source: Reddit
This may have been something to boast about in the past. But now, this bares a lot of shame. Fast fashion is a major contributor to environmental destruction as it is created billions and billions of waste every year. All of these things, disposal of waste, the plastic and materials...it's all hugely damaging.

15. They produce 3 billion garments a year

Image source: yelp
Altogether there are around 93 billion items of clothing produced each year - this will supposedly double by 2030. This is terrible news for the climate crisis. And, H&M alone produce around 3 billion per year. This demonstrated just how many products they are churning out that go to waste.

16. They have no transparency

Image source: foursquare
H&M have been criticised for having a lack of transparency within their company. For example, they have made vague claims and promises about plans, for example, plans to become more sustainable yet they have never given any details around this. And, these details are not available to be seen.

17. They have not changed their fast fashion structure

Image source: Reddit
H&H have also not responded to the fact that companies like them HAVE to change their structure and move away from fast fashion and into sustainability. However, they have made no attempts to do this, or to slow down, and have currently no plans to do so in the future either.

18. They give unfair wages

Image source: Reddit
If you thought H&M was a fair and equal company, you'd be very much mistaken. The company has been slated on its unfair wages. Their wages vary from region to region, depending on the minimum wage legal requirements. However, they expect more than they give in terms of a salary.

19. They have blood on their hands

Image source: Reddit
H&M as a company are responsible for lots of deaths. There are many people who have actually died due to how they have been treated in factories. This is the responsibility of the company to ensure that the workers who are producing the goods from which they make a LOT of profit, are treated right, rather than dying to earn a living.

20. They take advantage of loopholes in the law

Image source: businesshealth
As many large and unethical companies do, H&M take advantage of the laws to find loopholes or ways around doing certain things which would cost them more money. For example, they employ more people part time rather than full time so that they don't have to pay the same benefits/ compensation.

21. There's a time limit to help customers

Image source: Reddit
H&M employees aren't exactly known for their amazing customer service. And, there's a reason for this. Staff are technically only supposed to be with one customer for around 3 minutes at a time, otherwise they can be reprimanded for wasting time. This is so that the time is used to do other jobs such as stocking etc.

22. They have been accused of racial profiling

Image source: Reddit
There have been multiple stories where people have accused H&M for racial profiling. For example, a 59 year old, African American woman named Brenda Moaning experienced racial profiling where she was followed around the store and then searched. She sued the company and was given thousands in compensation.

23. Women were made to take their clothes off

Image source: aljazeera
In Germany, female workers were made to remove their clothes to prove they weren't stealing. The manager, subjected the women to the humiliation and invasion of privacy of removing their clothes so that he could see if they were storing store items underneath.

24. American employees get less benefits than European employees

Image source: Reddit
Instead of ruling their company standards across the globe, H&M takes advantage of the laws in each region to try and pay their employees less when they have to. However, this leads people to feeling as though they are being treated badly, when someone doing the same job from a different place is paid more.

25. Nobody gets a raise

Image source: Cbs
It's a very common complaint of ex-employees of H&M that nobody gets a raise. Even if you have worked there for a long time, it seems that there is a lack of reward for loyalty. The company's aim is to save money, however, instead it creates employees who feel unsatisfied and unappreciated.

26. They lie to the media

Image source: Cbs
 H&M have, especially recently, been making claims to suggest that they are an ethical and progressive company. Yet, reports have discovered that these claims are totally unfounded. What the company portray to the media, and the reality of the company's ethics are two very different things entirely. For example, they have made no progress towards fairer working conditions.

27. Employees destroy unsold clothes

Image source: Reddit
There was a secret investigation which looked into H&M's waste practices. And, it turned out that they were actually destroying unsold clothes. To save themselves money on fraudulent clothing they would make their employees tear up the old items that were no longer being sold.

28. 'On call' new employees may not get work

Image source: Reddit
When somebody is hired at H&M there's something called being 'on call' which in some places illegal. In those places where it is not, it means that the worker may be called at any time or not at all. So, the person does not know when they will work, or even if they will get any work which can leave them in a desperate situation.

29. Human resources ignore the reports

Image source: Reddit
It has been reported that many complaints which have been filed in some countries, such as Asian factories, have been ignored or dismissed in the human resources departments. The very department which is meant to protect workers, has left many H&M employees without help.

30. Employees regularly steal

Image source: Reddit
Is seems to be a regular occurrence within H&M stores that employees have regularly been caught stealing. Some have been caught stealing thousands from their company. So, some workers have to undergo checks because it was becoming a large issue for profits.

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