Judge Denies Restraining Order in Labor Dispute Involving Tennessee Pork Company

May 27, 2024

A federal judge has denied the U.S. Department of Labor’s request for a temporary restraining order against Tosh Farms, a pork company based in Henry, Tennessee, accused of retaliating against employees who questioned their pay.

Judge S. Thomas Anderson of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee rejected the motion, citing “conflicting evidence as to whether retaliation actually occurred” and concluding that the government “has not carried its burden on the factors necessary for the issuance of a preliminary injunction,” according to court documents.

The case involves allegations that two employees faced threats of disciplinary action after inquiring about overtime pay. Labor regulators’ court filings also claim a severed pig’s head was left in a “workstation” as an apparent intimidation tactic.

Tosh Farms denies these allegations, with another employee testifying that the pig’s head, left over from a home cookout, was placed in a tractor bucket for disposal.

In his 17-page opinion, Judge Anderson expressed concerns that a restraining order “could create reputational and possible economic harm to a defendant who has been subjected to press releases likening its unproved actions to those of Don Corleone in The Godfather.” He noted that the testimony confirming the continued employment and unchanged pay and benefits of the employees involved was undisputed.

“Moreover, no evidence was submitted that [Tosh Farms] have prevented or dissuaded any employee, including [the named employees], from filing any complaint with plaintiff regarding Tosh’s pay practices,” Anderson wrote.

Tosh Farms operates numerous hog facilities in western Tennessee and western Kentucky, maintaining a significant presence in the regional pork industry.

Source : Swine Web
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