JCPenney Provides Details on Zero Tolerance Prison Labor Policy

JCPenney is strongly committed to ethical business practices, and we employ a zero-tolerance policy against prison, indentured, bonded, slave, forced, or compulsory labor.

Companies across the globe are being held accountable to social responsibility now more than ever, and JCPenney is reiterating its historical zero-tolerance policy against prison labor to counter a rumor recently circulating regarding JCPenney’s alleged use of prison labor in its merchandising practices. We were as alarmed as many of our customers and associates who have heard this allegation and began working diligently to get to the bottom of these rumors.

After a thorough, internal investigation across several departments going back decades, we found no evidence of using prison labor in any area of our business. *As of June 25, we were in touch with the organization and clarified that JCPenney is not now, and has never been, a member of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).

“We take great pride in our business and have built a legacy of operating in an ethical and socially responsible manner since the Company was founded on the Golden Rule – to treat others as you want to be treated – in 1902,” said Brandy Treadway, JCPenney SVP, general counsel and secretary. “We absolutely do not use prison labor and we do not condone the practice by any other company with whom we do business.”

JCPenney’s contract terms with its suppliers require a commitment to uphold applicable laws, including the strict prohibition of using forced labor. For more information on our merchandising standards, please visit our website to view our Standard of Business Ethics, our Supplier Principles, and a Statement on the California Transparency in Supply Chain Act.

*Story updated, following sentence removed: Since the conclusion of our investigation, we have contacted the group to correct the record and are awaiting a response.