A shocking report by Reuters this week claims a subsidiary of carmaker Hyundai has been using child labor at a plant in Mongomery, Alabama, for many years.
According to the bombshell report, SMART Alabama LLC has been employing underage workers as young as 12 to work in the metal stamping plant that supplies parts for some of Hyundai’s most popular car models. The plant was found using underage workers when a young migrant girl went missing from her Alabama home last month and it was discovered she and her siblings had been working there.
After Reuters published its findings, SMART responded in a statement denying all the allegations. The company “does not tolerate illegal employment practices at any Hyundai entity. We have policies and procedures in place that require compliance with all local, state and federal laws.”
In a second statement, SMART shifted the blame for any breach of labor laws on to recruiting agencies that supply workers to the plant.
According to the statement, SMART “denies any allegation that it knowingly employed anyone who is ineligible for employment.” SMART claims it relies on “these agencies to follow the law in recruiting, hiring, and placing workers on its premises.”
Local police said they had reports from several former employees of the plant confirming the family of three underaged siblings had worked at the plant. According to some of the witnesses, the children did not attend school and instead worked at SMART.
Police have turned the case over to the state attorney general’s office. According to state law, children under 17 are required to be enrolled in school, and no one under 17 is allowed to work in metal stamping and other such facilities due to safety concerns.
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