News Release

US Department of Labor files complaint to stop Hyundai manufacturer, partners from using, profiting from oppressive child labor

Alleges 3 companies jointly employed child who worked up to 60 hours a week making auto parts

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MONTGOMERY, AL – The U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint on May 30, 2024, asking a federal court to prevent three Alabama companies, including a Hyundai U.S. assembly and manufacturing plant, from employing children illegally. The complaint also requests that the court require the three companies to surrender profits related to the use of oppressive child labor. 

The action follows an investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division that found that a 13-year-old worked up to 50-60 hours per week on an assembly line in Luverne, Alabama operating machines that formed sheet metal into auto body parts. In the complaint filed in federal court, the department named three companies as defendants, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC, SMART Alabama LLC and Best Practice Service, LLC. Best Practice Service sent the child to SMART Alabama, which provided component parts to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. In the complaint, the department alleged that all three companies jointly employed the child. 

The department went on to allege that between July 11, 2021, through Feb. 1, 2022, the companies willfully and repeatedly violated the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The complaint further alleges that the companies violated the “hot goods” provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

“The Department of Labor’s complaint seeks to hold all three employers accountable in the supply chain,” said Solicitor of Labor Seema Nanda. “Companies cannot escape liability by blaming suppliers or staffing companies for child labor violations when they are in fact also employers themselves.”

“A 13-year-old working on an assembly line in the United States of America shocks the conscience,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman. “As we work to stop illegal child labor where we find it, we also continue to ensure that all employers are held accountable for violating the law.”

The department’s Office of the Solicitor filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama in Montgomery and seeks an order to stop the illegal employment of children. The complaint also requests an order requiring the companies to disgorge profits related to the use of child labor.  

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama LLC operates a manufacturing facility at 700 Hyundai Blvd. in Montgomery. At the time of the events at issue, SMART Alabama LLC manufactured component parts at a facility located at 121 Shin Young Dr. in Luverne. And Best Practice Service LLC was a staffing agency – located at 722 Oliver Road in Montgomery – that supplied labor to SMART Alabama. 

In fiscal year 2023, the department investigated 955 cases with child labor violations, involving 5,792 children nationwide, including 502 children employed in violation of hazardous occupation standards. The department addressed those violations by assessing employers over $8 million in civil money penalties. 

The Wage and Hour Division offers confidential compliance assistance to anyone – regardless of where they are from – with questions about the FLSA and other federal labor laws. Workers and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). The division can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division. Download the agency’s Timesheet App, which is available in English and Spanish for Android and iPhone devices, to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

Wage and Hour Division
May 30, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Jake Andrejat
Media Contact: Eric R. Lucero
Phone Number
Media Contact: Erika Ruthman
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