NEWS & ANALYSIS

Kentucky Candle Factory Workers File Lawsuit Against Employer


Workers at the Kentucky candle factory destroyed by a tornado over the weekend filed a lawsuit against their employer, arguing they were threatened with termination if they left the facility prior to the disaster. 

The lawsuit filed against Mayfield Consumer Products in state court, seeking compensatory and punitive damages, came as the death toll rose to 76, per Fox News. 

The lawsuit claims the factory had “up to three and a half hours before the tornado hit its place of business to allow its employees to leave its worksite as safety precautions.” It added that the company showed “flagrant indifference to the rights” of the workers and violated Kentucky occupational safety and health workplace standards by refusing to do so. 

Factory employee Haley Conder told the Associated Press on Tuesday that a supervisor threatened her with written disciplinary action if she left work early. 

The only plaintiff identified in the lawsuit is Elijah Johnson, who was working the night shift at the factory when the storm hit. 

Troy Propes, the company’s CEO, said Wednesday that the company was retaining an “independent expert team” to review the actions of managers and employees prior to the storm. 

“We’re confident that our team leaders acted entirely appropriately and were, in fact, heroic in their efforts to shelter our employees,” he said. “We are hearing accounts from a few employees that our procedures were not followed. We’re going to do a thorough review of what happened.”