Auto parts maker accused of using child labor

This week, federal officials accused a Korean auto parts company that supplies Hyundai and Kia of violating federal child labor laws at an Alabama plant.

The US Department of Labor filed a federal lawsuit Monday in Montgomery accusing SL Alabama of hiring workers under 16 at its Alexander City plant.

The lawsuit was accompanied by a proposed settlement. A company lawyer signed the consent decree in which the company agreed not to hire underage workers, to verify the age of workers hired through a recruitment agency and to terminate or penalize any official aware of the use of underage workers.

A federal judge has yet to sign the agreement.

The company’s website says the plant employs around 650 people and is a major manufacturer of headlights, combination taillights and side mirrors for Hyundai and Kia.

The lawsuit comes after a Reuters report accused the auto parts supplier of using child labor at a factory in Luverne, Alabama.

An email to the attorney representing SL Alabama was not immediately returned. Hyundai released a statement saying, “Hyundai 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.”

Lynn A. Saleh