ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — Following reports of alleged child labor used at a Hyundai parts supplier in Alabama, the U.S. Department of Labor has filed a court order to keep the plant from using underage workers, as well as imposing fines on them.
In a news release sent Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Labor stated that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama has ordered that SL Alabama LLC, a manufacturer of Hyundai and Kia auto parts located in Alexander City, from illegally employing 13-, 14- and 15-year-old workers, as well as prevent the company from shipping or delivering any goods produced in violation of federal child labor laws.
Established in 2003, SL Alabama LLC employs approximately 650 workers and is responsible for making headlights, rear combination lights and side mirrors for Hyundai and Kia.
“Our investigation found SL Alabama engaged in oppressive child labor by employing young workers under the minimum age of 14, and by employing minors under 16 in a manufacturing occupation,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling said in the release. “Employers are responsible for knowing who is working in their facilities, ensuring that those individuals are of legal working age, and that their employment complies with all federal, state and local labor laws.”
In addition to being forced to pay a $30,076 penalty for employing minors, the court order also requires SL Alabama to provide training materials to employees and subcontractors to ensure child labor standards are met, as well as hire a third-party company to provide quarterly child labor training for three years. The company must also suspend or fire any employees found breaking those rules.
“The U.S. Department of Labor acted swiftly to protect workers as young 13, 14 and 15 years old from harm and prevent SL Alabama from employing these minors in hazardous occupations,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Tremelle I. Howard in Atlanta. “We will continue to take action and use all tools at our disposal to ensure young workers’ safety and well-being is not jeopardized by employers who fail to comply with the law.”
The actions come after Reuters published an explosive report alleging child labor that was used at the SMART Alabama plant in Luverne. Soon afterward, the DOL began investigating similar allegations at the Alexander City plant.