Brazil sues Samsung over alleged factory labor problems

Samsung Corporate HQ (image 001)

Samsung is reportedly facing a $108 million lawsuit from Brazil, which is claiming “serious” labor violations at the smartphone maker’s Manaus factory. At least 2,000 workers suffered injuries after being forced to work 15-hour days and not getting enough break time, a Brazilian labor organization claims Wednesday.

The website of the group Reporter Brasil cites Brazil prosecutors and the government’s labor ministry. In 2011, the South Korean smartphone maker paid $200,000 to settled similar charges over working conditions made by the government…

“We will conduct a thorough review and fully co-operate with the Brazilian authorities,” Samsung said in a Wednesday statement (via The Guardian.) The company announced it takes “great care to provide a workplace environment that assures the highest industry standards of health, safety, and welfare for our employees across the world.”

Along with back injuries caused by long periods of standing, labor investigators also charge workers at Samsung’s Manaus plant assembled products faster than safely practicable.

This isn’t the first time Samsung has had to respond to worker safety issues.

In 2012, the company audited its plants in China after reports of child employees. The checks found no child workers, but did reveal some safety problems.

Of course, Apple has also undergone its own share of criticism regarding worker safety and environmental issues. Such issues will only increase as manufacturers attempt to meet growing demands for smartphones while at the same time chasing growth opportunities to emerging nations where worker regulation is lax.

Finally, as consumers become more price conscious, smartphone makers will seek ways to produce products and retain some profit. Manufacturing, along with workers, are two prime areas where companies such as Samsung can satisfy both consumers and investors.