US Department Of Labor Sues Hyundai And Partners For Alleged Child Labor Violations

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has filed a lawsuit against Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA), vehicle parts manufacturer SMART Alabama, and staffing agency Best Practice Service (BPS), alleging that the companies illegally employed children, according to a court document.

The DOL, represented by Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su, is seeking an injunction to prevent the companies from violating child labor laws in the future and requesting that the court require them to “disgorge profits attributable to the oppressive child labor.”

The complaint alleges that the companies “employed oppressive child labor” while helping to produce cars for sale in the U.S. from around July 11, 2021, to approximately February 1, 2022. In one instance, a 13-year-old girl, identified as EC, allegedly worked up to 60 hours per week on an assembly line at SMART’s facility in Luverne, Alabama, despite BPS knowing or having reason to know she was a minor.

The DOL argues that all three companies are liable, as BPS supplied labor to SMART, which oversaw the minors’ daily output that was then shipped to HMMA. The complaint also notes that Hyundai Motor America, HMMA’s parent company, owned a majority stake in SMART’s parent company and that SMART was reliant on HMMA for various forms of support.

“A 13-year-old working on an assembly line in the United States of America shocks the conscience,” said DOL Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman, according to a DOL press release.