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The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) obtained a federal court order against a Hyundai and Kia auto parts manufacturer in Alabama on Tuesday, claiming the company violated child labor laws.
In a press release, the USDOL said the court order was obtained to stop SL Alabama LLC from employing 13 to 15-year-old children and prevent the company from shipping or delivering any goods produced using child labor.
Located in the Alexander City area, SL Alabama LLC was founded in 2003 and employs around 650 workers. The company produces headlights, rear combination lights and side mirrors for auto manufacturers like Hyundai and Kia.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama permanently enjoined the company from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) on September 29 after an investigation found it to be "engaged in oppressive child labor by employing young workers under the minimum age of 14 and by employing minors under 15 in a manufacturing occupation."
According to the FLSA, minors cannot legally be employed in hazardous occupations. Employers aren't allowed to ship products that originated from worksites where child labor violations have been detected, and the USDOL can seek a court order to prevent interstate shipment of goods in violation of the FLSA.
The court's consent judgment also requires the company to provide training materials to employees, subcontractors and other parties, so that child labor standards are observed.
According to USDOL, SL Alabama LLC must hire a third-party company to provide child labor training to management personnel and subcontractors every quarter for three years and must impose sanctions, terminate, or suspend any management or subcontractors that were deemed responsible for the violations.
The company will also be subject to a $30,076 civil money penalty.
"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," said Wage-Hour Division District Director Kenneth Stripling.
"The U.S. Department of Labor acted swiftly to protect workers as young as 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. "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."
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