A manager at meat giant Tyson Foods is suspended after allegedly taking bets on which employees would catch COVID-19. This happened when a coronavirus outbreak happened at the Waterloo, Iowa facility early this year. Tyson Foods produces 20% of the meat, chicken, and beef products in the U.S.
Tyson Foods has struggled with bad publicity since the start of the pandemic. The company was not taking proper protocols to keep its employees safe as they continued to be essential workers. Lawsuits began piling up as over 1,000 employees at the plant were infected by COVID, and at least six employees died from the virus.
“We are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant,” President and CEO Dean Banks said in a statement. According to the Tyson Foods press release, the manager was suspended without pay, and the situation is now being investigated.
The COVID Gambling Ring
The manager under investigation is Tom Hart, who ran the Waterloo facility. He is being accused of running 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.”
The gambling ring was discovered when an investigation began about the death of Isidro Fernandez, who died of COVID complications on April 26 of this year. Fernandez’s name was put in the suit, which is how the gambling ring was discovered.
“We are extremely upset about the accusations involving some of the leadership at our Waterloo plant,” Banks said. “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.”
Multiple workers at the plant, including Hart, are currently suspended as the investigation is ongoing. Tyson Foods has stated that they are taking all proper precautions to make sure the company gets to the bottom of this situation.
The lawsuit also states that Tyson Foods allowed sick employees to work while tested positive for COVID. Employees did not need to quarantine or miss work during the start of the pandemic.
According to Business Insider, Tyson Foods saw over 4,600 cases and 18 deaths linked to its facilities. Local health officials have also been on record saying the Waterloo plant did not have protective PPE for employees that were working.
What Will Happen Next?
There is no telling what will happen with Tyson Foods or the employees involved in the ring with a lawsuit and investigation underway.
The situation is bad for the meat production company, especially with the severe public scrutiny it faced earlier this year. Now, there is a chance that Hart and others started a gambling ring around the employees’ health.
The death of Isidro Fernandez is helping lead the way to solve this issue. As sad as Fernandez lost his life, this could help understand what was going on at Tyson Foods plants during the start of the pandemic and make sure that all Tyson Foods employees have been compensated properly.
Gambling on sports in Iowa is legal and can be done in a moral way instead of gambling on the health of others in a pandemic.