13-year-old allegedly caught working at Hyundai plant in Alabama

13-year-old allegedly caught working at Hyundai plant in Alabama

A 13-year-old boy was allegedly caught working at a Hyundai plant in Alabama.

The U.S. Department of Labor is suing Hyundai Motor Co., auto parts maker SMART Alabama and staffing agency Best Practice Service after finding a 13-year-old girl illegally working on an assembly line, according to CBS News. in Alabama.

The federal complaint was filed Thursday by the agency in the U.S. Court for the Middle District of Alabama and seeks to force the companies to give up profits from the use of child labor.

The investigation reportedly revealed that the unidentified child worked 50 to 60 hours per week at the facilities of SMART Alabama, which supplies parts to Hyundai, instead of going to school.

“A 13-year-old working on an assembly line in the United States of America shocks the conscience,” Jessica Looman, administrator of the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division, said in a statement reported by CBS News.

SMART Alabama told Best Practice Service that two other employees were allegedly not welcomed into the facility because of their appearance and other physical traits that might have suggested they were minors, according to the complaint.

Now the Department of Labor says Hyundai is responsible for repeated child labor violations at SMART Alabama. Despite Hyundai’s claim that it enforces U.S. labor laws and has taken corrective action, the Labor Department says companies cannot avoid responsibility by blaming their labor suppliers.

“The use of child labor and violation of any labor laws is not consistent with the standards and values ​​we uphold as a company,” Hyundai said in a statement to CBS News. “We have worked for several months to thoroughly investigate this issue and have taken immediate and thorough corrective action. We have presented all of this information to the U.S. Department of Labor in an effort to resolve the issue, while detailing the reasons for which no legal basis existed to impose liability in the circumstances.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Labor seeks to apply an unprecedented legal theory that would unfairly hold Hyundai responsible for the actions of its suppliers and set a worrying precedent for other automakers and manufacturers.”

This is the first time the Labor Department has sued a major company for child labor law violations at a subcontractor, following a government investigation and a Reuters report on the use illegal and widespread alleged child labor at Hyundai suppliers in Alabama.