Hyundai Sued by Labor Department for Child Labor


hyundai sued by labor department for child labor

A couple of years ago, reports of child labor began dogging Hyundai, and it appears the government is finally ready to do something about it. The Department of Labor sued the automaker this week, naming three defendants: Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC, SMART Alabama LLC, and Best Practice Service LLC.

The suit is due to reports of the automaker and its contractors employing a 13-year-old child, though earlier reports claimed that children as young as 12 were working in its facilities. Shockingly, the teenager put in adult-sized workweeks, clocking 50 to 60 hours on the assembly line.

hyundai sued by labor department for child labor

Though it relied on staffing companies and contractors, the Labor Department said that the companies’ operations were deeply intertwined, making them liable as a single employer under the law. The 13-year-old girl was reportedly joined by siblings aged 12 and 15, and none went to school, according to people close to the issue.

Hyundai said it had worked for several months to investigate its suppliers and promised that it had taken immediate steps to fix the problems. It separated itself from SMART, an auto parts manufacturer, and that company changed its name last year.

hyundai sued by labor department for child labor

While some states, including Arkansas, have loosened child labor laws to boost workforce participation, there has to be a limit to the kinds of work they are allowed to perform. I washed dishes in a pizza restaurant when I was 14, but I certainly didn’t work in a metal stamping facility. Hyundai can blame its partners all it wants, but ignorance is not an excuse when this has reportedly happened multiple times.

[Images: James R. Martin via Shutterstock]

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