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HomeGeneralAuthorities Discover Immigrant Children Working Illegally at Tennessee Factory

Authorities Discover Immigrant Children Working Illegally at Tennessee Factory

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Tuff Torq electric vehicle booth found at one of their expositions
Source: Facebook.com/TuffTorqCorporations

A Tennessee-based company, Tuff Torq, has come under fire for its involvement in hiring immigrant children, some as young as 14, to work illegally in its facility. This revelation has raised concerns about child labor practices and workplace safety in the manufacturing sector.

The firm, which manufactures parts for lawnmowers sold by John Deere and other major companies, was fined nearly $300,000 for employing ten children in violation of labor laws. In addition to the fine, Tuff Torq has been required to set aside $1.5 million to support the children who were unlawfully employed.

Ryan Pott, the general counsel representing Tuff Torq’s majority owner, Yanmar, acknowledged the violations, stating, “Tuff Torq is dedicated to ensuring that their products and services are produced under ethical conditions, with a strong emphasis on fair labor practices.”

The Labor Department’s chief legal officer, Seema Nanda, emphasized the seriousness of the violations, stating, “The department will not tolerate companies profiting on the backs of children employed unlawfully in dangerous occupations.” Nanda highlighted the importance of holding companies accountable and ensuring the well-being of child workers.

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A Labor Department official, Juan Coria, described the alarming conditions discovered during investigations at Tuff Torq’s manufacturing plant in Morristown, Tennessee. Children as young as 14 were found working late at night amid hazardous machinery, causing significant concern among investigators.

Pott explained that the child workers were not hired directly by Tuff Torq but were brought in through a temporary staffing agency using fake names and false credentials. He stated that the company is taking steps to discontinue its relationship with the staffing agency and enhance its labor practices.

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“Tuff Torq is dedicated to ensuring that their products and services are produced under ethical conditions, with a strong emphasis on fair labor practices, and Tuff Torq is further strengthening our relevant training and compliance programs,” said Pott.

“We are also actively engaging with our suppliers to reinforce our expectations regarding ethical labor practices and collaborate with them on implementing our updated policies.”

As part of the agreement with the Labor Department, Tuff Torq must prominently display signs at all entrances to the plant indicating that individuals must be at least 18 years old to work on the premises. This measure aims to prevent future violations and raise awareness about child labor laws.

The investigation into Tuff Torq began nearly a year ago, prompting multiple visits to the facility by Labor Department officials. While John Deere, a major client of Tuff Torq, did not respond to requests for comment, the scandal has underscored the need for greater oversight and accountability in supply chains.

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ALSO READ: Missouri Police Rescue Two Children Abandoned by Suspect on the Run

With a significant increase in children found to be illegally employed in recent years, the Labor Department has prioritized child labor enforcement efforts. Through agreements like the one reached with Tuff Torq, the agency aims to send a clear message to companies and their suppliers about the consequences of violating child labor laws.

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