Jan 25 2013, 2:13am CST | by Mark Raby
Apple has immediately ended its partnership with a Chinese supplier, Guangdong Real Faith Pingzhou Electronics (PZ), after it found out that the company had dozens of employees that were under the age of 16.
"The children were returned to their families, and PZ was required to pay expenses to facilitate their successful return," Apple wrote in a statement regarding the decision.
The discovery of underage workers came from an independent audit. Apple has become a much more vocal proponent of random and thorough audits of all overseas companies that it deals with, primarily because of the extremely bad press it got from the worker conditions at the massive company Foxconn.
But with all the attention being placed on Foxconn, it perhaps doesn't come as too much of a surprise that other companies were skating by with questionable practices under the radar. At least until now.
In China, the legal working age is 16. A previous investigation found that Foxconn indeed had also hired minors, but Foxconn claimed it didn't even know this, and blamed it on either the youngsters falsifying records, or managers who did not follow the proper policies.
When that story broke, Foxconn said its policy was to immediately terminate anyone responsible for the hiring of minors.
It isn't clear exactly how young the workers at PZ were, but there were 74 people who were found to be under 16.
Apple added, "The company that subcontracted its work to PZ was prompted by our findings to audit its other subcontractors for underage labor violations -- proving that one discovery can have far-reaching impact."
With more than 10 years as a professional writer, Mark Raby has an undeniable pulse on the latest trends. From the quiet rumors to the breaking news of the day, his eagle eye is always focused on the newest scoop and figuring out how and why the big newsmakers are noteworthy and relevant. He is based in New York City.
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