In a press release on Thursday, Dean Banks, President and CEO of Tyson Foods, Inc. announced that the company has suspended individuals who were accused of placing monetary bets on how many employees at the Waterloo, Iowa, facility would contract COVID-19 during the pandemic and that the company is beginning an investigation into the matter.
According to Banks, the individuals, who were allegedly involved in the bets, will be suspended without pay while an investigation into the actions led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, now with Covington & Burling LLP, is completed. The company retained the law firm to conduct an independent investigation and said that if the allegations are confirmed they will “take all measures necessary” to remove similar behavior from the company.
“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,” Banks said.
The allegations that supervisors and managers placed monetary bets were added to one lawsuit on November 11, and another on Wednesday in amended complaints. Both lawsuits allege that the actions of Tyson Foods, Inc., its corporate members, and managers and supervisors at the plant were responsible for the deaths of at least four individuals working at the plant because they did not provide necessary protections from COVID-19 and required employees to continue coming to work despite the purported dangers.
Tyson said in Thursday’s press release that it has invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” to provide its facilities with protective equipment, including walk-through temperature scanners, workplace dividers, social distance monitors, and testing.