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Responsible Business Practices
Ethics & Values

Human Rights

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Our commitment, policies and governance: Johnson & Johnson is committed to respecting human rights of individuals throughout our value chain. We have established policies, programs and a governance structure to fulfill our human rights responsibilities.

See the policies and positions available on our website for more information:

Ongoing due diligence approach: In 2020, Johnson & Johnson continued our engagement with Shift, a leading center of expertise on the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to refine and further define our salient human rights issues, socialize those issues internally and develop a framework for identifying and managing human rights issues in our supply base. We also continued our participation in Shift’s Business Learning Program, to ensure awareness of emerging human rights issues and due diligence approaches and be part of a cross-industry network of companies working to advance implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. Throughout 2020, we addressed, from a human rights standpoint, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our employees, communities and other stakeholders. For more information on our COVID-19 response, please see the United in Defeating COVID-19 section.

Our own operations: Our Position on Employment and Labor Rights articulates our expectations for labor and employment practices at our sites, including preventing forced labor and child labor, and non-discrimination, among other matters. Our operating companies are required to respect each employee’s right to make an informed decision, free of coercion, about membership in associations and/or labor unions. Employees have the right to organize or join associations, and bargain collectively, if they so choose. The Company and its operating companies are required to bargain in good faith with these associations.

In 2020, we developed a risk-based approach to assessing compliance with our internal standards related to the human rights of our employees by initiating a project to conduct human rights audits at our sites. We have partnered with a third party who will conduct audits in conformance with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code, an internationally recognized set of labor standards based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, the UN Guiding Principles, and local labor regulatory requirements. Our audit risk screening criteria are based on the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) best practice guidance and measurement criteria. We tailored risk screening criteria to include additional considerations relevant to Johnson & Johnson. The new audit program will be piloted within one of our three business segments in 2021.

23% of employees worldwide are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Minimum notice periods, the management of reorganizations and layoffs and the policies associated with such actions vary depending on the location, nature, size and scale of the action and applicable law. Local operating leaders endeavor to communicate significant plans of operational changes to employees and their representatives, where they are present, in a timely and practical manner in advance of actions being taken. The Company maintains responsible approaches to redundancies and organizational changes. Many of our collective bargaining agreements contain negotiated provisions covering severance or separation pay and benefits. Where there is no legal minimum notice period, Johnson & Johnson operating companies typically provide 30 days' notice.

Our approach to talent management puts a strong focus on diversity and inclusion principles. We promote diversity and equal opportunity in recruiting, development and promotion as well as all other aspects of employee careers. To read more, please see our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Policy. As outlined in our Positions on Providing a Safe and Harassment-Free Workplace and on Providing a Discrimination-Free Workplace, we do not tolerate discrimination, harassment or bullying, and provide various training courses on this policy, including within our Code of Business Conduct scenario-based training, which is assigned every two years to all employees and to select contingent workers.

To reinforce our commitment to fair pay as defined by Our Credo and the Position on Employee Compensation and Benefits, in 2020 we completed a living wage assessment ensuring pay is not only equitable and market competitive, but also more than sufficient to provide the means for our employees and their families to attain a sustainable standard of living. Living wage rates were provided by the global nonprofit organization, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). The scope of the analysis included the 77 countries where our 136,000 employees are located, and a very small number of minor pay adjustments were made. We have integrated the living wage assessment into our standard processes and plan to conduct this analysis on a regular basis going forward.

Our suppliers: The Johnson & Johnson Responsibility Standards for Suppliers outline our expectations of supplier business conduct. The Standards were developed to align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Consumer Goods Forum Social Resolution on Forced Labour and Priority Industry Principles. We continue to strengthen our due diligence approach to human rights issues in the supply base. In 2020, we further enhanced our supplier selection process with a deeper focus on human rights evaluation criteria. Through our participation in the Consumer Goods Forum, in September 2020 Johnson & Johnson signed onto a letter to the UN, calling for measures to protect seafarers’ well-being and human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles and in support of ILO’s Decent Work Agenda, while supporting the global economy, unblocking sea transportation routes and ensuring the supply of critical goods. To read more about our supplier due diligence approach, see our Position on Responsible Supply Base.

Training and communication: Our Human Rights in the Supply Base training covering all aspects of our Johnson & Johnson Position on Human Rights is mandatory for all Procurement employees and is also assigned to other relevant functions as needed. In addition, in late 2020 we launched a foundational human rights training course available to all employees. This foundational course, which has been translated into 26 languages, educates employees about our commitment to human rights, the impact our operations can have on human rights, and the responsibilities we have as Johnson & Johnson employees.

Grievance mechanisms: We are committed to providing effective resolution where we have caused or contributed to adverse human rights impacts. Where we find impacts directly linked to our business relationships, we will use our influence to work with our suppliers or business partners to prevent, mitigate and address adverse impacts on human rights. The Johnson & Johnson Our Credo Integrity Line—a grievance mechanism available to all employees, suppliers and other business partners—offers a secure mechanism for anonymous reporting, where permitted, of suspected concerns or potential violations of our policies or the law, including potential human rights violations. We communicate the Our Credo Integrity Line access broadly, and the visibility of this access and the mechanism's functionality is in scope for enterprise-wide audit procedures. Concerns raised through the Our Credo Integrity Line are reported at an enterprise level. More information on the Our Credo Integrity Line is available in our Compliance & Bioethics section.

In addition to the Our Credo Integrity Line, our employees can report potential violations to Human Resources either locally or through our Global Services team. Alternatively, they can report potential violations to management. To read more, see our Position on Resolving Employee Grievances.

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Acquisitions: We firmly believe that identifying and understanding environmental, safety and employee issues, including potential human rights concerns, are critical components of our acquisition and other business development activities. We conduct thorough due diligence investigations prior to acquiring businesses and apply a commensurately higher level of scrutiny to businesses with operations or suppliers in countries where there are traditionally higher risks of compliance violations and/or human rights abuses. We continue to be mindful of these concerns as we transition newly acquired businesses into the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies and are prepared to escalate and appropriately remediate any issues uncovered.

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