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Large Pork Producer Faces Shocking Worker Retaliation Allegations

The company is the 25th largest pork producer in the U.S.

Tosh Pork is the largest pork producer in Tennessee, and with 38,000 sows in 2022, it was the 25th largest pork producer in the U.S., according to a report from Genesus and Swineweb. Based in Henry, Tennessee, the company uses the H-2A agricultural guest worker program to employ people from foreign countries to work the farm. The company's products are typically sold to JBS USA, Kroger and Costco.

This week, the company is facing some shocking allegations as part of a complaint from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Labor Department also filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent the farm from retaliating against two workers who asked about their wages.

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The complaint was filed February 21, 2024, asking the court to stop Tosh Pork and its human resources manager, Dianna Rosa, from continuing to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act prevents employers from firing or discriminating against workers who have filed a complaint or cooperated in an investigation.

The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found that a pair of Tosh Pork workers cooperated with investigators after asking their employer about their pay. After the company learned of the complaint, the employer tasked one employee with jobs outside their regular duties, like cleaning offices and bathrooms and even picking up pig waste. Tosh Pork also tried to force the workers to sign a document forbidding them from speaking with other employees about pay issues, allegedly. 

Finally, during the investigation, officials also uncovered a story of another worker who was called in to meet with the farm's management and threatened with termination after asking about wages. When the worker returned to their workstation, they found a severed pig's head. 

The Labor Department determined that Tosh Pork failed to meet employment requirements for H-2A visa workers and corresponding U.S. workers under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The division found the employer owed five workers $39,375 in back wages and assessed $36,731 in civil money penalties.

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