Brazil sues Samsung over working conditions

August 19, 2013
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Employee rights are a hot topic in countries around the world. It is impossible to debate the fact that workers deserve to be treated fairly, paid a livable wage and have conditions that are up to safety codes, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. However, there are laws in place and courts to bring companies that violate them to justice.

This week, the Brazilian Ministry of Labor has filed a lawsuit against technology company Samsung. The reasons stem from precarious working conditions imposed of the 6,000 employees at a manufacturing facility in the country.

According to a statement released by prosecutors, several irregularities were found at the factory in Manaus. This includes working shifts of up to 15 hours, lack of seats in the production line, lack of breaks and days off. This lead to some 2,000 employees taking sick leave of up to 2 weeks in 2012 alone because of back problems and repetitive strain injuries. On top of that, there are also claims of harassment in the workplace.

Samsung has responded, saying it will conduct a thorough review and co-operate with Brazilian officials to investigate these claims.

"We take great care to provide a workplace environment that assures the highest industry standards of health, safety and welfare for our employees across the world," the company said.

If found guilty, the company could be forced to pay $109 million in damages. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and what effect it could have on the manufacturing industry as a whole.

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