A group of labor prosecutors in Brazil named Samsung [corporate website] in a lawsuit over the company's substandard labor conditions in its Brazilian factories. Samsung is being asked to pay USD $108 in damages and to bear the cost of treatment [WP report] for employees with occupational diseases for subjecting assembly line employees to 15-hour shifts, in violation of Brazilian law. The lawsuit also seeks to imposes changes in Samsung's practices in order to avoid further injuries. In a statement [AP report], Samsung signaled its intention to cooperate with Brazilian authorities and reaffirmed its commitment to providing a safe work environment for all its employees.
Samsung's lawsuit in Brazil is merely the latest instance of a prominent company being accused of providing deplorable working conditions for its employees. Last year the rights group China Labor Watch criticized Samsung and Apple [WP report] for poor working conditions in their Chinese factories and accused Apple of violating Chinese labor laws [JURIST report]. In 2011 Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that more than 20,000 children are subjected to inhumane conditions while working in Malian gold mines. Also in 2011 HRW reported [JURIST report] that Chinese copper mining companies in Zambia were violating national and international labor standards by forcing employees to work 12-18 hours a day and prohibiting employees from unionizing.