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Brazil sues Samsung over labor violations

Brazilian government says poor working conditions expose employees to risk of illness

The Brazilian government is none too pleased with Samsung Electronics Co. and its treatment of Brazilians who work for the electronics company.

Last week, Brazil filed suit against the South Korea-based company, citing poor working conditions in a Samsung factory in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas. The suit says that the substandard environment in which Brazilian Samsung employees must work—including being subjected to intense, repetitive activity—is placing them at risk for serious illnesses.  According to an investigation by Brazil’s Labor Ministry, workers perform more movement per minute than is considered safe by regulators, they work up to 10 hours a day while standing, and more than 2,000 suffered from health problems or other injuries last year.

The plant is the largest of the 25 Samsung plants in the country. It employs more than 6,000 workers and manufactures smart phones and other electronics goods for all of Latin America. Brazilian prosecutors are asking for 250 million reals (about $108 million) in damages.

Samsung says it plans to cooperate with Brazilian authorities. "Once we receive the complaint in question, we will conduct a thorough review and fully cooperate with the Brazilian authorities. 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 in a statement.

Read ABC News and NPR for more about this story.

For more labor stories on InsideCounsel, see:

Labor: Medical marijuana law comes to Illinois

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NLRB and Mexico sign cooperation agreement


Cathleen Flahardy

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