Managers at a Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo, Iowa, deliberately suppressed information and misinformed employees during a COVID outbreak, according to new allegations in a federal lawsuit.
The suit now charges that the plant’s manager and human resources director told interpreters in April to inform non-English-speaking employees that there were no cases of COVID at the facility, and that the county health department had “cleared” the plant for operation. In fact, there were three active COVID cases at the time, and health officials were recommending the plant be closed (which it eventually was, for two weeks beginning in late April).
Other alleged abuses include: telling USDA inspectors not to wear masks on the floor “because it would send the wrong message”; removing interpreters from the plant floor; and making a production worker stay on the line after vomiting.
The new charges come on top of explosive allegations in the same lawsuit that Waterloo plant supervisors had bet on how many COVID cases would turn up in the facility.
Tyson did not comment to the Des Moines Register on the new charges, but issued a statement referencing its efforts to keep workers safe with protective gear and barriers.