Kentucky Tornadoes: Candle Factory Workers Suing Business After Devastation

by Victoria Santiago
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Outsiders, we have an update on the candle factory workers in Kentucky. They’ve filed a class-action lawsuit against Mayfield Consumer Products, LLC. PEOPLE got ahold of some of the court documents filed by workers. We’ll take a look at what the court documents are saying.

If you need a refresher, workers at a factory in Mayfield, Kentucky were not allowed to leave during last week’s tornadoes. Eight people died at the factory. Many workers at the factory have come forward to talk about what happened during the tornadoes. Workers say that they were not allowed to leave. Many wanted to take shelter in the comfort of their own homes, with their families. However, managers threatened them with job termination if they left.

At first, managers were saying people couldn’t leave because of a company-wide safety protocol. However, workers were expected to go back out on the floor before the tornado threat had passed. Sirens went off at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., with workers still expected to stay. In between the sirens, some 15 people asked to go home. Their requests were denied. At one point, employees had to hide in the hallways and bathrooms before returning to the factory floor.

What the Lawsuit Says

The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday, December 15th in the Graves Circuit Court. There are 110 employees included in the suit. It accuses the candle factory of refusing to allow workers to “leave work before the tornado actually hit its place of business even though the Defendant had at least 3 hours notice of the danger this tornado posed.” Multiple news articles are referenced in the suit in which employees spoke out against the company. The Associated Press and NBC News have both spoken to employees about the claims.

Employees involved with the lawsuit are seeking compensation and punitive damages. They have an interest in getting a jury trial.

Candle Factory Higher-Ups Finally Speak Out

For a while, we didn’t have any statements to go off of from factory officials. Tons of workers were coming forward with the same story, but no managers or representatives denied the claims. That’s changed.

Bob Ferguson, a spokesperson for Mayfield Consumer Products, denies the claims. He says that workers were not told they’d be fired if they left. In addition to refuting the workers’ claims, he invited the state to investigate the incident.

Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, says that state officials will be looking at the property and protocols in place. Beshear hopes that everyone involved lived up to the standards of “the law, of safety and of being decent human beings.” The investigation will not take place anytime soon. Outside of government processes, the community needs time to heal and rebuild.