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Lawsuit against Tyson alleges Waterloo managers bet on how many workers would get COVID-19, one called it “glorified flu”

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - A wrongful death lawsuit tied to COVID-19 infections in the Waterloo Tyson Pork Processing Plant alleges managers bet money on how many workers would contract COVID-19.

Earlier this year, the family of the late Isidro Fernandez sued the company, alleging Fernandez was exposed to the virus at the plant where he worked.

Fernandez was one of five Waterloo plant employees who died from complications of the virus.

The lawsuit alleges Tyson Foods, Inc. is guilty of a "willful and wanton disregard for workplace safety."

The lawsuit was recently amended and includes a number of new allegations against the company and plant officials. Among them:

  • The lawsuit alleges plant manager, Tom Hart, organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all, betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many plant employees would test positive for COVID-19.
  • John Casey, an upper-level manager at the plant, is alleged in the lawsuit to have explicitly directed supervisors to ignore symptoms of COVID-19. The lawsuit alleges he referred to COVID-19 as the "glorified flu" and told workers not to worry about it because "it's not a big deal" and "everyone is going to get it."
  • The lawsuit alleges that, on one occasion, Casey intercepted a sick supervisor who was on his way to be tested and ordered him to get back to work, saying "we all have symptoms - you have a job to do."
  • The lawsuit alleges Tyson offered $500 “thank you bonuses” to employees who turned up for every shift for three months, incentivizing sick employees to continue to show up for work.

View the lawsuit in its entirety:


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