Accusing the company of misleading commercial practices, the NGOs Peuples Solidaires and Sherpa lodged a complaint in Paris against Samsung's French subsidiary and international parent company.
Based on research from the China Labor Watch group, the French campaigners alleged that children had been found in Chinese plants producing Samsung products, and that other staff faced severe health problems.
They took aim at Samsung's stated objective of becoming one of the most ethical companies in the world, which they said amounted to misleading consumers and commercial cheating.
"We are asking the justice system to sanction the unacceptable gap between its ethical commitments and the reality in its factories as described by Chinese NGOs on the ground," the French groups said in a statement.
Peuples Solidaires and Sherpa targeted Samsung unsuccessfully with a previous complaint in 2014, but claim they now have new evidence that backs up their case based on work by China Labor Watch.
The Chinese group, which sends undercover workers into factories to report on conditions there, has produced a series of highly critical reports since 2012 highlighting abuses at companies that work for Samsung.