A federal appeals court has reinstated a lawsuit filed by Tyson Foods employees charging that the company neglected their welfare during the COVID crisis.
The suit was filed in 2020 on behalf of 41 living workers and the family of one who had died of COVID. It claimed that Tyson put them in danger early in the pandemic by requiring them to come to work without adequate protective measures.
The suit had been filed in a Texas state court, but Tyson had it transferred to federal court on grounds that the company was working to fulfill an order by then-President Trump that meat processing plants must continue to operate. A federal district court judge then dismissed the case.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the trial judge acted improperly in taking over and dismissing the case because despite Trump's order, Tyson’s decisions on operations were not done “under direction of the federal government.” It remanded the case back to the district judge for further consideration of jurisdictional and other issues.