Tyson Foods in Waterloo suspends individuals mentioned in wrongful death lawsuit

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:37 PM CST
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WATERLOO, Iowa (KCRG) - After an update to a wrongful death lawsuit against Tyson Foods and Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo, the company says it is independently investigating and has taken action against several individuals mentioned in the lawsuit.

Since the allegations, Tyson Foods in Waterloo says the company has suspended, without pay, several supervisors named in the wrongful death lawsuit.

The family of Isidro Fernandez filed the lawsuit earlier this year after Fernandez died in April of COVID-19. He was one of five Tyson employees to die after getting the virus.

The newly-amended lawsuit goes-into allegations, including that the plant manager organized a betting pool for other managers to win money if they correctly guessed how many workers would get the virus. The lawsuit also claims an upper-level manager directed supervisors to ignore symptoms of COVID-19.

Tyson responded to the allegations in a statement today saying, “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. We expect every team member at Tyson Foods to operate with the utmost integrity and care in everything we do. We have suspended, without pay, the individuals allegedly involved and have retained the law firm Covington & Burling LLP to conduct an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder. If these claims are confirmed, we’ll take all measures necessary to root out and remove this disturbing behavior from our company. Our top priority is and remains the health and safety of our team members. We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars to transform our U.S. facilities, including the Waterloo plant, with protective measures, from walk-through temperature scanners and workstation dividers to social distance monitors and always-on testing.”

The shifts at the Tyson Fresh Meats Plant in Waterloo are going on as planned. The company’s President and CEO Dean Banks visited the plant Thursday afternoon to talk to workers about the steps the company is taking.

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