Lawsuit filed against Smithfield Foods
A federal lawsuit has been filed against Smithfield Foods by an anonymous worker at the company’s pork plant in Milan, in north central Missouri.
The Rural Community Workers Alliance, which represents meatpacking plant workers in rural Missouri, has joined the suit which accuses Smithfield of failing to protect workers from the risk of COVID-19. The suit reportedly says the company has not provided enough protective gear, encouraged workers to come in sick and told them not to cover their mouths when sneezing or coughing. The suit claims ongoing health hazards at the plant are a public nuisance.
Smithfield says its policy does not allow it to comment on pending litigation but told Brownfield the health and safety of its employees is its top priority. Smithfield says the allegations in the lawsuit are not factual and lack legal merit. It says the claims – which were previously made against Smithfield – have been investigated and determined to be unfounded. Smithfield says it will vigorously defend itself in the litigation.
The Milan plant remains open. Smithfield closed its Martin City plant, in northwest Missouri because of workers confirmed with COVID-19.