Tyson fires seven managers after probe into COVID-19 wagering

Employees had been suspended following lawsuit

Reuters — Tyson Foods said Wednesday it had fired seven managers at an Iowa pork plant after investigating allegations that they took bets on how many employees would catch COVID-19.

The independent investigation, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, came in response to a lawsuit filed by the son of a worker at a Tyson facility in Waterloo, Iowa, who died in April of complications from the virus.

The lawsuit claimed that plant managers misled workers about COVID-19, bet on workers catching the virus and allowed sick employees to continue working.

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Tyson in November suspended the employees accused of wagering at the Waterloo facility — its largest U.S. pork plant.

The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the meatpacking industry, infecting thousands of workers at slaughterhouses hit by outbreaks.

Tyson on Wednesday separately idled another of its Iowa pork plants following a mechanical malfunction in its refrigeration system.

Operations at the Columbus Junction facility could be halted for a few days for repairs, the company said, adding that no one was hurt in the malfunction.

— Reporting for Reuters by Uday Sampath in Bangalore.

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