Apple Audit Uncovers Underage Workers, Fires Chinese Supplier

Apple has terminated its contract with a third-party labor supplier in China after an audit discovered it had "intentionally" hired dozens of underage workers. The audit uncovered 74 cases of underage labor at the one facility, and 106 active cases overall, the remaining ones resulting from an inability to detect forged documents.

"11 facilities were found with underage labor, with a total of 106 active cases and 70 historical cases," Apple stated in its Supplier Responsibility Report. "In all but one case, the facilities had insufficient controls to verify age or to detect false documentation, but there was no intentional hiring of underage labor. In one case, our detailed audit concluded that the extent of the violation was pervasive, finding 74 cases at one facility, so we terminated business with the supplier."

Apple Workers

Apple's Code strictly prohibits child labor for any company that it does business with. The minimum age for employment or work is 15 years of age, the minimum age for employment in that country, or the age for completing compulsory education in that country, whichever is higher, Apple says.

The list of overall violations among Apple's partners is long and varied. In the report, Apple notes that one supplier was found intentionally dumping waste cutting oil into bathroom toilets, which it was alerted to by an inside tip. That supplier was required to hire an external expert to help develop a corrective action plan, and also placed on probation.

Apple Worker in China

Over 70 facilities were found without appropriate in-house occupational hazards monitoring, such as dosimeters for X-ray machine operators, and 177 facilities lacked proper emergency safety procedures, 38 of which had at least one emergency exit locked.