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DOL Wants Pork Producer to Squeal Like a Pig

By Michael Homans
May 2024

Cue the banjos – and The Godfather music.

The facts appear damning for Tosh Pork, LLC, an 11,000-acre pig and corn farm in Tennessee, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”).  After two “swine care” workers had the chops to ask about their pay that was past due, the company and its Human Resources Manager retaliated by assigning them the offal task of cleaning up pig waste, offices and bathrooms – duties outside their normal jobs, the DOL alleges.

Tosh Pork also asked the employees if they had squealed – filed a federal complaint against the company – and tried to get them to sign a document forbidding them from talking with other workers about their wages.

When a third employee asked about his pay, he was threatened with termination and – upon returning to his workstation – found a severed pig’s head, a la Jack Woltz (warning, this link portrays violence and a horse head).

At that point, the DOL had enough and filed for a temporary restraining order, with Regional Solicitor Tremelle Howard stating, “Tosh Pork’s appalling actions and clear attempts to intimidate and retaliate against its employees will not be tolerated.”  

In response, Tosh Pork said in an email to the Tennessean newspaper, “It is important to Tosh Pork that our employees are treated with dignity and respect and that our animals receive proper care.”  And perhaps Tosh Pork’s pigs can fly, too.

Back to basics: the National Labor Relations Act protects employees against unfair labor practices, including retaliation for discussing wages and working conditions with co-workers, even if the discussions are not explicitly targeted at “concerted action.”

Michael Homans is an employment lawyer and litigator based in Philadelphia and Wayne, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at or (215) 419-7477.

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