July 5, 2020

Volume X, Number 187

July 03, 2020

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Federal Court Dismisses Workers’ Rights Suit against Smithfield Foods Inc.

A federal court has dismissed a suit brought by Rural Community Workers Alliance, alleging unsafe working conditions due to COVID-19 for workers at a Smithfield pork processing plant in Missouri.

The judge cited in part the Trump administration’s April 28 executive order that requires meat processing plants to continue operating during the pandemic and noted that the federal government (i.e., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and other agencies) has responsibility for ensuring worker safety, rather than the courts.

After the suit had been filed in April and as reported on this blog, federal agencies took action to respond to the outbreaks at meat processing plants, and Smithfield implemented changes in its plant, including screening workers for symptoms and installing barriers between workers.  It remains to be seen whether the Missouri decision will chill future actions from being brought for worker safety concerns at food processing plants.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 129


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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...