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U.S. Authorities Accuse a Hyundai Supplier of Employing Underage Labor

The Department of Labor claimed that the South Korean company SL Corp, employed minors at its factory

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UNITED STATES. New York: According to federal court documents analyzed, the U.S. Department of Labor accused a Korean-owned auto parts manufacturer and supplier to Hyundai Motor Co. on Monday of breaking federal child labor laws at an Alabama factory.

The Department of Labor (DOL) claimed in documents submitted to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on Monday that SL Alabama LLC, a division of the South Korean company SL Corp (005850.KS), employed minors at its factory in Alexander City, Alabama.

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The DOL said in a six-page complaint that since last November, SL Alabama had “repeatedly violated” labour laws by “employing oppressive child labour” and “minors under the age of 16.”

Children had worked at the company, which produces headlights, rear lights, and other components for businesses like Hyundai and its Kia affiliate, SL Alabama, in a statement. SL claimed that an unnamed external labor recruitment company had employed the kids.

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The information was made public one month after various sources exposed the exploitation of child labor at another Hyundai affiliate business, SMART Alabama LLC, that produces vehicle parts in Alabama. The Alabama Department of Labor stated that it will work with federal authorities to investigate the plant’s labor policies.

The finding of child laborers at a second Hyundai supplier denotes increased examination of labor practices in the U.S. supply chain for the automaker. Late Monday, Hyundai issued an email stating that “it does not allow illegal employment practices at any Hyundai entity.” The statement continued, “We have policies and processes in place that demand adherence to all local, state, and federal laws.”

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A proposed settlement agreement between the government and the components manufacturer was submitted to the court along with the complaint against SL Alabama. Following the terms of that agreement, SL Alabama committed to refrain from hiring children, discipline any managers who knew about the use of child labour, and sever all connections with recruiters who provide child labour.

An attorney for SL Alabama and an attorney for the Department of Labor both signed the proposed agreement on August 18. A judge has not yet signed it.

The documents did not specify the number of juveniles employed by SL Alabama or the nature of their labour. It’s unclear if the business, or the labour contractors it hires, will be subject to any fines or other sanctions.
Requests for comment from the DOL went unanswered.

“We fully cooperated with the investigation by the Department of Labor,” SL Alabama said in a statement. “We are in the process of complementing our verification system so that minors will not work going forward.”

By federal and Alabama law, teenagers and children under the age of sixteen are prohibited from working in most industrial production settings because they can be hazardous for youngsters.

According to SL Alabama’s website, the Alabama facility employs roughly 650 employees. Additionally, the parent business, SL Corp, runs manufacturing in Tennessee and a research centre in Michigan.

According to reports, some juveniles, frequently immigrants, are hired for Alabama factory jobs through employment agencies. Labour organizations have criticized staffing companies even though they assist in filling industrial jobs countrywide by allowing employers to outsource responsibility for checking applicants’ credentials.

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