A lawsuit filed against Tyson Foods accuses the company of causing the death of an employee in Amarillo, Texas, by COVID-19.
The suit was filed in federal court May 15 on behalf of Pwar Gay, an employee at the Tyson beef processing plant in Amarillo. The suit alleges that Gay injured her knee in a slip-and-fall accident at the plant in April and was returned to work after treatment at the plant’s first-aid center. “Ms. Gay was suffering from pain and swelling, but was not allowed to go home and rest or seek medical attention due to Tyson’s shortage in staff,” the suit alleges. Gay contracted COVID-19 and died on May 8.
The lawsuit alleges that Tyson failed to provide a safe workplace and properly supervise employees. It asks for actual and punitive damages.
During the pandemic, litigation has become a special concern for the food industry in general, and meat plants in particular. A bill introduced in Congress would shield meat plants from COVID-related lawsuits except in cases of criminal misconduct or gross negligence.
“We are saddened by the loss of any Tyson team member and sympathize with Ms. Gay’s family at this difficult time,” a statement from Tyson says. “At Tyson Foods, our top priority is the health and safety of our team members, and we have put in place a host of protective steps at our facilities that meet or exceed CDC and OSHA guidance for preventing COVID-19.”