Tyson Foods has suspended multiple supervisors at an Iowa pork plant for allegedly participating in a COVID-19 betting pool.
Lawsuit Names Workers in COVID-19 Betting Pool
Tyson Foods announced the suspensions on November 19, 2020. Those suspended had been named in a lawsuit claiming that the manager of a Tyson pork plant in Waterloo, IA had organized a COVID-19 betting pool with supervisors at the facility.
The lawsuit was filed by the son of Isidro Fernandez, a meatpacking worker who died of the coronavirus last April, when the plant was the site of a deadly COVID-19 outbreak. The suit alleges that the COVID-19 betting pool was a “cash buy-in, winner take all.”
Those accused of participating in the betting pool have been suspended without pay. Tyson Foods also enlisted an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation, which will be led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr.
Tyson Plant Was Virus Hot Spot
According to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Iowa, the Tyson plant was a virus hot spot at the time of Fernandez’s death. However, the facility’s leadership allegedly denied that there was a COVID-19 outbreak and rejected efforts by local officials to close the plant. Employees were reportedly ordered to continue working despite showing symptoms of being sick, with one worker being told to stay on the production line even after he vomited.
In all, approximately 1,000 employees, roughly a third of the plant’s workforce, tested positive for the coronavirus. While many of the issues at the Waterloo plant were detailed by the New York Times in May, the allegations about the COVID-19 betting pool among supervisors and managers were only recently revealed after lawyers for Fernandez’s family amended the original lawsuit.
A spokesman for Tyson Foods insisted that the company had introduced multiple steps to protect its workers at the pork plant, including taking temperatures, loosening attendance policies, and putting up social distance barriers on the production floor.
Do You Have Questions for a COVID-19 Lawyer?
If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 or lost a family member to the virus because of somebody else’s negligent actions, the COVID-19 attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC are here to discuss your legal options.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our personal injury lawyers have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation of success necessary to get you and your family the justice you deserve.