Tyson Suspends Managers in ‘COVID Pool’ Scandal

Nov. 23, 2020
Supervisors at a Tyson plant have been suspended after allegations that they bet on how many employees would contract COVID.

Supervisors at a Tyson pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, have been suspended after allegations that they participated in a pool to bet on how many employees would contract COVID.

The allegations were made in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of a worker who died of COVID complications in April. According to that suit, the plant’s manager organized a betting pool around the exact number of plant employees who would become infected. The complaint also alleges that workers showing symptoms were expected to remain on the job.

Tyson Foods has reacted by suspending the individuals involved without pay and initiating an investigation by an outside law firm.

“We are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant. Tyson Foods is a family company with 139,000 team members and these allegations do not represent who we are, or our CORE VALUES and Team Behaviors,” the company said in a statement.

The lawsuit, filed by the family of Isidro Fernandez, was moved from state to federal court after Tyson alleged that state health regulations had been superseded by President Trump’s order for meat and poultry processing plants to remain open during the pandemic.

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