Apple Inc. has said three of its suppliers had hired 11 underage workers last year, a violation the US based firm uncovered at the time of onsite audit of its 102 facilities.

“Apple discovered three facilities that had previously hired 15-year-old workers in countries where the minimum age for employment is 16. Across the three facilities, auditors found records of 11 workers who had been hired prior to reaching the legal age,” the company said in a report on its website.

The iPhone, iPod and Macintosh Computer maker, however, said that the workers were “no longer underage or no longer (was) in active employment at the time of our audit.”

As of December 2009, Apple has audited 190 facilities located in China, the Czech Republic, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the US.

The US firm, however, did not name its suppliers and manufacturers in the report titled ‘Supplier Responsibility’

The report said that during the course of audit of its suppliers, the auditors found 17 core violations of policies, which is mostly related to the labour laws and underage recruitments.

While three suppliers “falsified records” to conceal underage hiring, the audit found that the employees in as many as 60 facilities were overworked.

Besides, 57 facilities did not provide the right benefit to the worker and that 24 suppliers were paying less than minimum wage to its employees. Apple’s Code sets a maximum of 60-work hours per week and requires at least one day of rest per seven days of work.

The audit has also found eight violations involving excessive recruitment fees and three cases where suppliers contracted with non-certified vendors for hazardous waste disposal.

The report added that Apple has stopped doing business with at least one of its supplier after finding repeated cases of violations and “inadequate actions” to address the problems.

The audit has found that in 8 facilities, foreign workers paid more to the hiring agents to get a job. Pursuant to the findings of the audit, Apple has reimbursed USD 2.2 million in fee overcharges to the employees and has also set a limit to such fees to the “equivalent of one month’s net wages.”

Shares of Apple gained USD 2.62 to USD 204.62 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading on Friday.

Keywords: Applelabouremployment