US Labor Department sues Hyundai, suppliers in Alabama over alleged child employment

FILE - A sign stands outside the U.S. Department of Labor's headquarters, May 6, 2020, in Washington. The U.S. Department of Labor is asking a federal court to prevent Hyundai and two other Alabama companies from employing children illegally. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Labor wants a federal judge to prevent Hyundai and two other Alabama companies from what the government contends is the illegal employment of children.

The complaint filed Thursday follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found a 13-year-old worked between 50 and 60 hours a week operating machines on an assembly line that formed sheet metal into auto body parts.

The defendants include Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC, SMART Alabama LLC and Best Practice Service, LLC. The lawsuit said it seeks to end the use of child labor and require that the companies give up profits linked to the alleged practice.

Hyundai said in a statement that it cooperated fully with the Labor Department and that it is unfair to be held accountable for the practices of its suppliers.

“We are reviewing the new lawsuit and intend to vigorously defend the company,” the statement said.