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Your trusted source for the latest news and insights on Markets, Economy, Companies, Money, and Personal Finance.

The Labor Division on Thursday sued Hyundai over the usage of youngster labor in Alabama, holding the automobile producer accountable for the employment of youngsters in its provide chain, together with a 13-year-old lady who labored as much as 60 hours per week making automobile elements.

Within the go well with, filed in a federal court docket in Montgomery, Ala., the division mentioned Hyundai was answerable for the employment of youngsters at a Good Alabama manufacturing facility in Luverne, Ala., which produces elements like physique panels which might be shipped to a Hyundai manufacturing facility in Montgomery. The go well with additionally claimed a staffing company, Finest Observe Service, recruited the kids to work on the provider’s plant.

In an announcement, Hyundai mentioned youngster labor was “not in line with the requirements and values we maintain ourselves to as an organization.” It added that the Labor Division used “an unprecedented authorized idea that might unfairly maintain Hyundai accountable for the actions of its suppliers.”

Good didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Representatives of Finest Observe Service, which is not in enterprise, couldn’t be reached for remark.

From July 2021 to February 2022, a 13-year-old lady labored on the Good plant, the place she was recruited to work by Finest Observe Service, the go well with claimed. The go well with additionally contended that two different youngsters have been employed on the plant.

The Labor Division mentioned that via the employment of youngsters at its provider, Hyundai was in violation of the “scorching items” provision of the Honest Labor Requirements Act, which prevents the interstate commerce of products “that have been produced in violation of the minimal wage, time beyond regulation or youngster labor provisions” of that regulation.

“Firms can not escape legal responsibility by blaming suppliers or staffing corporations for youngster labor violations when they’re in actual fact additionally employers themselves,” mentioned Seema Nanda, the Labor Division’s chief authorized officer, in an announcement Thursday.

The go well with comes after investigations by Reuters and The New York Occasions documented the usage of youngster labor by the suppliers of automobile corporations. In 2022, Reuters discovered that Good Alabama had used youngster labor at its facility, and that Kia, which is a part of the identical South Korean conglomerate as Hyundai, had additionally used youngster labor within the South. A 2023 investigation by The Occasions discovered youngsters employed on the suppliers of Normal Motors and Ford Motor.

Hyundai imports a lot of its autos from South Korea however has made massive investments in factories within the South, spending almost $8 billion on an electrical automobile plant in Georgia. The United Car Staff union has mentioned it hopes to arrange employees at Hyundai’s Montgomery plant.

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