COVID Pool Was “Morale Boost,” Says Fired Tyson Boss
Several Tyson managers were fired after taking bets on how many Tyson employees would contract the coronavirus at their plant. According to the manager, the pool was meant to boost morale, but now that Tyson is facing several wrongful death lawsuits filed by the families of deceased employees, the pool is unlikely to boost morale. In fact, it’s become a major talking point in litigation against Tyson.
Tyson has thrown seven managers under the bus after word came out that there was a pool within the Tyson facility. One manager has spoken out so that the press doesn’t think that they were “evil” people. As insensitive as the pool was, Tyson’s problems are not limited to a handful of managers that set up a deadpool for coworkers.
The Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Tyson is facing four wrongful death lawsuits related to the deaths of their employees. An investigation led by former Secretary of State Eric Holder found that the conduct of the managers involved in the pool violated company policy on basic decency and humanity. Without releasing Holder’s findings, the company fired the employees without explanation. Attorneys for the deceased workers have characterized the pool as indicative of the callousness and indifference Tyson brass had for those working on the floor under dangerous conditions.
Meatpackers are generally required to work in close proximity to one another. At the early stages of the pandemic, Tyson took out a large ad in the New York Times stating that “the supply chain was breaking” because they had lost a large percentage of their employees to the virus. It was then that Trump ordered the meatpacking industry to remain open. So the question concerning whether or not these lawsuits are fair will be a major part of the case against Tyson.
Tyson characterizes the request as impossible. The company was expected to maintain its quota while implementing several cumbersome anti-infection protocols that had to be deployed immediately. Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans are contemplating legislation that would prevent such lawsuits against companies. However, since the legislation has not been passed yet, no one knows what it will look like, whether the immunity will include employee/employer lawsuits, or what the standard of proof will be in these cases.
Typical protectionist legislation raises the standard of proof in tort/injury lawsuits. Essentially, a plaintiff would have to go from proving simple negligence to gross negligence. What a gross negligence standard during a plague year would look like is anyone’s guess. But the deadpool could be a major card for the plaintiffs as it indicates a general environment in which the coronavirus was not being taken seriously. Whether it’s fair to draw that conclusion is a completely different story.
Talk to a Jacksonville Wrongful Death Attorney
If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a company or another individual, you are entitled to recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced quality of life. Call the Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Gillette Law today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.