Kentucky factory employees beg to leave before tornado, supervisors allegedly refused threatening them with firing.
Employees of a candle factory, which was eventually destroyed heard the warning sirens and sought to flee the building as a terrible tornado neared the city on Friday. However, at least five employees said that their supervisors threatened to terminate them if they left work early.
As word of the impending storm spread, up to 15 employees pleaded with supervisors to allow them to take refuge in their own houses, only to be denied, according to the employees. Some employees departed during their shifts despite the consequences since they were afraid for their safety.
In the Mayfield Consumer Products plant, which produces scented candles, at least eight workers perished. Only rubble remains after the facility was leveled. The vast mangled remains of the tornado system have become icons of the system’s massive destructive power. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear confirmed Monday that 74 people had died in the dreadful incident.
Employees first asked to leave shortly after tornado sirens sounded outside the factory around 5:30 p.m., McKayla Emery, 21, said in an interview from her hospital bed. They huddled in restrooms and within corridors but the true storm wouldn’t hit for another several hours. So they began requesting to go home after determining that the immediate threat had gone, according to them(employees).
“People were debating whether they could leave or go home,” Emery recalled, adding that she opted to stay at work and earn more money. Overtime pay was provided, although it was unclear whether those that stayed got paid more.
Employees said that supervisors and team leaders threatened them that leaving would likely put their jobs on the line. “If you leave, you’re much more likely to be fired,” Emery claimed she overheard supervisors telling four workers who wanted to leave standing close to her. “That was something I heard with my own ears,” Emery added.
Shortly after the first emergency alarm sounded outside the building, about 15 individuals wanted to go home during the night shift, according to another employee, Haley Conder, 29.
Between the first and second emergency alarms, she added that there was a three- to four-hour gap when employee should have been permitted to go home. Initially, team leaders informed Conder that they wouldn’t let employees leave for safety reasons, so everyone was held in the halls and restrooms.
Employees said that after they wrongly believed the storm was no longer a threat, they sent everyone back to work. Conder believes that anyone who wished to leave should have been permitted to do so.
When numerous employees who wanted to go home came in to talk with supervisors, Elijah Johnson, 20, was working in the back of the facility. He agreed to participate in the request. “I requested to be let go, and they informed me that I would be fired,” Johnson claimed.
“Are you still going to terminate me despite the weather?” he asked. According to Johnson, a supervisor said “Yes.” Supervisors went so far as to take a roll call in order to figure out who had left work, according to Johnson.
Officials from the company refuted the claims.”It’s completely false,” claimed Bob Ferguson, a Mayfield Consumer Products representative. “Since the beginning of COVID, we’ve had a policy in place. Employees are free to depart whenever they wish and return the next day.”
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