Mainstream News

Tyson Fires 7 Employees Accused of Betting on COVID-19 Spread Among Workers

Tyson Foods, Inc., said it fired seven employees following allegations that some individuals at the company placed bets on the extent to which COVID-19 would spread at its Waterloo, Iowa, plant.

[vc_row][vc_column][us_carousel post_type="ids" ids="260184, 260250, 107361" orderby="post__in" items_quantity="3" items_layout="11024" columns="3" items_gap="5px" overriding_link="post" breakpoint_1_cols="4" breakpoint_2_cols="3" breakpoint_3_cols="2"][/vc_column][/vc_row]
{ "slotId": "7483666091", "unitType": "in-article", "pubId": "pub-9300059770542025" }

The meatpacking company announced an investigation into the allegations last month. The investigation began in response to a wrongful death lawsuit brought against Tyson by a family member of a former employee who worked at the Waterloo plant before contracting and later dying of COVID-19.

In addition to accusing Tyson of requiring employees to work without personal protective equipment despite realizing the virus was present within the plant, an amendment to the lawsuit added allegations against specific members of the plant’s management team. The Waterloo plant manager, identified in the lawsuit as Tom Hart, allegedly “organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many employees would test positive for COVID-19” in April, according to the lawsuit.

Tyson Foods, Inc., announced the termination of seven employees on Wednesday following an investigation into allegations of wagers placed on the spread of COVID-19 at a plant in Waterloo, Iowa. In the photo above, packages of Tyson chicken products are displayed in the refrigerator section of an Associated Supermarket in New York City on November 14, 2005. Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images

The company’s president and CEO, Dean Banks, issued a statement that said he was “extremely upset” upon learning of the allegations against Hart and others at the facility. Banks said the company would initiate an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder to look into the allegations made within the lawsuit.

On Wednesday, Tyson announced seven management employees at the Waterloo plant were fired as a result of the investigation.

[vc_row height="auto" width="full" css="%7B%22default%22%3A%7B%22margin-left%22%3A%220%22%2C%22margin-top%22%3A%220%22%2C%22margin-bottom%22%3A%220%22%2C%22margin-right%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-left%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-top%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-bottom%22%3A%220%22%2C%22padding-right%22%3A%220%22%7D%7D"][vc_column][us_page_block id="48000"][/vc_column][/vc_row]

“The behaviors exhibited by these individuals do not represent the Tyson core values, which is why we took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth,” Banks said in a company news release. “Now that the investigation has concluded, we are taking action based on the findings.”

The lawsuit that inspired Tyson’s investigation was filed by Oscar Fernandez, whose father Isidro died in late April after he contracted COVID-19. According to the lawsuit, Isidro Fernandez was one of more than 1,000 employees at the Waterloo plant who contracted the virus.

The consumer advocacy nonprofit Public Citizen filed an amicus brief in support of keeping the case in state court in early November. After news of Tyson’s concluded investigation broke on Wednesday, a spokesperson for Public Citizen told Newsweek terminating the seven employees was a “good first step” but criticized Tyson’s “aggressive legal strategy” in attempting to fend off lawsuits filed by the families of COVID-19 victims.

“While it is a good first step that Tyson has fired management that demonstrated contempt for the lives of its workers, that won’t bring back the lives of Tyson workers who died of COVID after high-level executives refused to shut plants down or to ensure appropriate safety measures were taken,” Public Citizen’s statement said. “Tyson’s decision to put its workers at risk so it could pursue greater profits wasn’t limited to these seven workers.

“If Tyson truly wanted to take responsibility, it would stop its aggressive legal strategy of asserting immunity from lawsuits brought by the families of dead Tyson workers. While Tyson and other businesses have been asking the president and Congress to immunize them from liability for their negligence since the beginning of the pandemic, neither have granted it.”

Newsweek reached out to Oscar Fernandez’s attorneys but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Mainstream News

Prepare Now Before its too Late

Discover where products are available & compare prices

Iowa Man Accused of Coughing on Police Officer in Attempt to Give Him COVID
Health officials track safety as COVID-19 vaccines roll out

{ "slotId": "6776584505", "unitType": "responsive", "pubId": "pub-9300059770542025", "resize": "auto" }
You might also like
{ "slotId": "8544127595", "unitType": "responsive", "pubId": "pub-9300059770542025", "resize": "auto" }