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The Labor Division on Thursday sued Hyundai over using baby labor in Alabama, holding the automobile producer accountable for the employment of kids 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 stated Hyundai was answerable for the employment of kids at a Good Alabama manufacturing facility in Luverne, Ala., which produces elements like physique panels which can be shipped to a Hyundai manufacturing facility in Montgomery. The go well with additionally claimed a staffing company, Finest Follow Service, recruited the youngsters to work on the provider’s plant.

In a press release, Hyundai stated baby labor was “not in step with the requirements and values we maintain ourselves to as an organization.” It added that the Labor Division used “an unprecedented authorized principle that will unfairly maintain Hyundai accountable for the actions of its suppliers.”

Good didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Representatives of Finest Follow Service, which is now 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 Follow Service, the go well with claimed. The go well with additionally contended that two different youngsters had been employed on the plant.

The Labor Division stated that by way of the employment of kids 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 had been produced in violation of the minimal wage, time beyond regulation or baby labor provisions” of that regulation.

“Corporations can’t escape legal responsibility by blaming suppliers or staffing corporations for baby labor violations when they’re in actual fact additionally employers themselves,” stated Seema Nanda, the Labor Division’s chief authorized officer, in a press release Thursday.

The go well with comes after investigations by Reuters and The New York Instances documented using baby labor by the suppliers of automobile corporations. In 2022, Reuters discovered that Good Alabama had used baby labor at its facility, and that Kia, which is a part of the identical South Korean conglomerate as Hyundai, had additionally used baby labor within the South. A 2023 investigation by The Instances 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 huge investments in factories within the South, spending practically $8 billion on an electrical automobile plant in Georgia. The United Vehicle Staff union has stated it hopes to arrange staff at Hyundai’s Montgomery plant.

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