Managers forced employees to come forward to work with the symptoms of COVID-19 and bet on the number of cases.
Isidro Fernandez's family, who contracted a fatal case from COVID-19, filed an unlawful death lawsuit earlier this year after learning that his supervisors at Tyson Foods had ordered employees to continue reporting for work, while betting how many would get sick. They did so despite the fact that officials knew the dangers associated with the coronavirus – to the point where they took care of their own health and reassigned responsibility for limiting exposure. The lawsuit alleges that Tyson Foods was "guilty of willful and willful disregard for workplace safety".
Fernandez died on April 20 and was one of five employees at the Waterloo plant who died after contracting the virus. According to the Black Hawk County Health Department, "more than 1,000 workers at the facility (over a third of the facility's workforce) have contracted COVID-19".
The lawsuit states: "Despite the uncontrolled spread of the virus in the facility, Tyson required its employees to work long hours in cramped conditions without providing the appropriate personal protective equipment and without ensuring that workplace safety measures were followed."
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
An amendment filed later lists even more allegations against the company, including in part:
“In mid-April, around the time Black Hawk County Sheriff Tony Thompson visited the plant and reported that the working conditions were rocking him to the core, Plant Manager Tom Hart organized a cash buy-in, a winning take -Alles. Pool for supervisors and managers to bet on how many factory workers would test positive for COVID-19;
John Casey, an operations manager, specifically directed supervisors to ignore the symptoms of COVID-19 and told them to show up to work even if they showed symptoms of the virus. Casey referred to COVID-19 as "the flu glorified" and urged workers not to worry about it because "it's not a big deal" and "everyone will get it".
In late March or early April, managers began avoiding the factory floor for fear of contracting the virus. As a result, they increasingly delegated managerial powers and responsibilities to lower-level managers who had no management training or experience.
In March and April, operations managers falsely denied the existence of confirmed cases or positive tests for COVID-19 within the plant and told workers it was their responsibility to keep working to ensure Americans did not starve as a result of a shutdown ;;
Tyson executives have hired Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds to protect COVID-19 liability, which would protect the company from lawsuits. "
Tyson responded to the allegations that it "vigorously denies plaintiffs' claims on the case," adding that it "worked to adhere to federal employment guidelines and invested millions of dollars from the start of the pandemic to provide safety and security to employees, risk reduction devices. "
A statement filed in response to the amended complaint said: "We are saddened by the loss of a Tyson team member and we sympathize with their families. Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees. We have one in Waterloo and our other facilities Set of safeguards in place that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidelines for preventing COVID-19. "
The lawsuit seeks damages for “fraudulent misrepresentation” and “gross negligence”.
The Tyson meat factory managers had a betting pool on how many workers would receive Covid
Lawsuit: Tyson executives bet money on how many workers would sign COVID-19