US retailer Gap Inc says it has "demanded an immediate investigation" in response to allegations of harassment at one of its suppliers in Cambodia.

A strike at the Ocean Garment Factory in Phnom Penh has now entered its third week, despite a court ordering the 2,500 protestors to return to work.

The unrest began on 11 August after six female employees accused their Bangladeshi manager of sexual harassment.

In a statement sent to just-style, Gap Inc says: "Sexual harassment is absolutely unacceptable," adding that it is a serious violation of the retailer's code of vendor conduct.

"Workers, factory management and government officials - including the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Arbitration Council (an independent dispute resolution body) - are reviewing these allegations and working to settle the case through due process," the company said. 

"We are closely monitoring the outcome of those discussions, and have requested swift and fair resolution.

Additionally, ILO's Better Factory Cambodia, a key in-country partner of Gap Inc, is conducting a separate, independent investigation into these allegations."

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court ordered the strikers to return to work on Friday (24 August), but the protests have continued after Ocean Garment suspended five worker representatives.

According to Garment Manufacturers Assosication of Cambodia (GMAC), the case is not a dispute of the local garment industry and should be judged by the court.

"We have advised that the case should be brought to the courts to be settled as this is not an industrial dispute," Ken Loo, secretary general of GMAC told just-style.