Many Florida residents may be fans of TV chef Paula Deen’s cooking shows. However, some may not be big fans of her ethics and morals. After being fired from the Food Network for racial slurs, she is now being investigated for unsafe working conditions.
While Deen netted millions of dollars last year, many of her factory workers in India – which manufacture her lifestyle products – were working for paltry salaries of $75 a month. One employee had worked with the company for seven years and received a raise of just $8 a month.
Not only that, but the employees work in dangerous conditions. A factory fire earlier this year affected hundreds of workers. The fire was caused by substandard safety procedures. There were no alarm systems or proper safety equipment.
On top of that, child labor is commonly used. Although many factories in India strive to maintain safety, there is not constant supervision in regards to this policy. The town where the factory is located is actually home to the child labor market.
Injuries are also common. Workers often cut themselves with dull knives. Slips and falls are common. When workers suffer injuries, they are told to either return to work immediately or end up fired. In 2003, one worker, a 25-year-old man, died from toxic fumes.
It’s sad to hear that a celebrity chef making $17 million a year allegedly employs workers at deplorable wages and on top of that, forces them to work in these types of conditions. Employees have the right to work in a safe environment. Because these factories are in other countries, the standards are similar to those of a sweatshop. More laws and safety measures must be put in place to protect these workers.
Those who have concerns about their working environment may wish to discuss their situation with a legal professional, who can determine the right course of action. The employer may be cited or fined for the safety violations.
Radar Online, “Hazardous Chemicals, Accidental Stabbings, Raging Fires & Toxic Fumes That KILLED: Inside The Dangerous Factories Making Products For TV Chef Paula Deen” Melissa Cronin, Nov. 21, 2013