MAYFIELD, Ky. – Survivors of the deadly tornadoes that blew through a Kentucky candle factory are now suing their employers, saying that the company showed “flagrant indifference” by not allowing employees to leave before the storm arrived.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Kentucky state court, saying that Mayfield Consumer Products candle company violated occupational safety and health workplace standards by not allowing workers to leave the factory early. Workers said they were told they would be fired if they left hours before the tornadoes hit, The Associated Press reported.
The lawsuit is asking for compensatory and punitive damages.
Bob Ferguson, a representative from the company, had said in the past that employees were allowed to leave anytime and denied they faced retribution if they left, but he did not return calls to the AP asking for comment Thursday after the suit was filed.
But CEO Troy Propes said that his company will be using “an independent expert team” to take a look at what managers and employees did before the arrival of the tornadoes.
“We’re confident that our team leaders acted entirely appropriately and were, in fact, heroic in their efforts to shelter our employees,” Propes told the AP. “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.”
Only one employee, Elijah Johnson, is named in the suit, but it also says it was filed on behalf of “others similarly situated” and that they are not named for “fear of reprisal,” the AP reported.
Approximately 100 people were at the factory working on orders when the tornadoes hit. Eight people were killed in the storm at the facility.
Dean & Rog Mornings
Def Leppard / Journey / Steve Miller Band at Minute Maid Park
Dean & Rog’s Thousand Dollar Minute
Winning Weekend!! Win Tickets To See Santana LIVE August 17
Best Excuse To Get Out Of A Bad Date!
Win Tickets!! Sammy Hagar's 'The Best of All Worlds Tour' with Special Guest Loverboy