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DOL Asks Hyundai to Surrender Profits from Use of Child Labor

DOL Asks Hyundai to Surrender Profits from Use of Child Labor

June 4, 2024
The manufacturer and its suppliers are charged with illegally employing children.

Hyundai is facing serious repercussions from the most recent complaint filed by the DOL on May 30. The agency is asking a federal court to prevent the company from illegally employing children. And they want the court to require the company to surrender profits related to the use of child labor. 

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama is one of the three defendants in the case along with SMART Alabama, LLC and Best  Practice Service, LLC.

The case stems from an investigation from the Wage and Hour division that found a 13-year-old worker up to 50-60 hours per week on an assembly line in Luverne, Alabama operating machines that formed sheet metal into auto body parts.

Hyundai has faced this issue before. In February of 2023 they divested ownership of SMART after finding that this company and others had provided false documentation to Hyundai.  

This occurred in that same month when 33 lawmakers called upon the company to get rid of child labor in its supply chain.  

The issue of child labor has been coming to light in recent years. DOL notes that in 2023, it investigated 955 cases with child labor violations, involving 5,792 children nationwide, including 502 children employed in violation of hazardous occupation standards. The department addressed those violations by assessing employers over $8 million in civil money penalties.

 The large number of cases and what it means to the manufacturing factor was an issue explored by IndustryWeek. Author Ryan Secard notes that “other similar stories played out at other manufacturers implicated in child-labor law violations, including at Packers Sanitation Solutions and Deere & Co. supplier Tuff Torq Corp.”

DOL is determined to stop this practice. “As we work to stop illegal child labor where we find it, we also continue to ensure that all employers are held accountable for violating the law,” said Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman, in a statement.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Email [email protected]


Adrienne Selko is also the senior editor at Material Handling and Logistics and is a former editor of IndustryWeek. 




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