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Hyundai supplier accused of child labour violations in US

Department of Labor accuses SL Alabama LLC of employing underage workers at Alabama plant.

Published On 23 Aug 2022

THE UNITED STATES Department of Labor accused a Korean-owned auto parts maker and supplier of Hyundai Motor Co of violating federal child labour laws at an Alabama factory, federal court filings reviewed by the Reuters news agency show.

The Department of Labor (DOL) said that SL Alabama LLC, a subsidiary of South Koreas SL Corp, employed underage workers at its Alexander City, Alabama factory, in accordance with filings on Monday with the united states District Court for the center District of Alabama.

Since last November, SL Alabama repeatedly violated labor regulations by using oppressive child labor and minors beneath the age of 16, the DOL said in a six-page complaint.

In a statement to Reuters, SL Alabama admitted children had worked at the plant, making headlights, rear lights along with other components for companies including Hyundai and its own Kia affiliate. SL said the minors have been hired by another labour recruitment firm, which it didn’t identify.

The revelations come a month after Reuters reported the usage of child labour at another Alabama auto parts plant operated by Hyundai subsidiary SMART Alabama LLC. The Alabama Department of Labor at that time said it could coordinate with federal authorities to probe labour practices at that plant.

The discovery of child workers at another Hyundai supplier signals widening scrutiny of labour practices in the automakers US supply chain. Within an emailed statement late Monday, Hyundai said it generally does not tolerate illegal employment practices in virtually any Hyundai entity.

We’ve policies and procedures set up that want compliance with all local, state, and federal laws, it added.

Combined with the complaint against SL Alabama, a proposed settlement agreement between your government and the parts manufacturer was filed with the court. Beneath the terms of this agreement, SL Alabama decided to stop hiring minors, punish any managers alert to the usage of underage employees, and suspend any relationship with any recruiters who supply child workers.

The proposed agreement was signed August 18 by an SL Alabama lawyer and a Department of Labor lawyer. It have not yet been signed by way of a judge.

The filings didn’t detail just how many minors worked at SL Alabama or which kind of jobs they performed. It isn’t clear if the company or the labour contractors it works together with face any fines or other penalties.

The DOL didn’t react to requests for comment.

In its statement to Reuters, SL Alabama said we fully cooperated with the investigation by the Department of Labor, and we have been along the way of complementing our verification system in order that minors won’t work in the years ahead.

Both federal and Alabama law prohibit teens and children beneath the age of sixteen from employed in most industrial factory settings since they could be dangerous for minors.

SL Alabama employs about 650 people at the Alabama facility, in accordance with its website. Parent company SL Corp also operates a factory in Tennessee and research facility in Michigan.

Previous Reuters reporting shows how some minors, often immigrants, get hired for Alabama factory jobs through recruitment agencies.

Although staffing firms help fill industrial jobs nationwide, they are criticised by labour advocates since they enable employers to outsource responsibility for vetting employees and their eligibility to work.

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