STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The family of a Tyson Foods employee are alleging in a lawsuit that he died from COVID-19 after the meat processing giant failed to implement safety protocols to guard against the coronavirus at the Iowa plant where he worked.
Michael Everhard, 65, of Fonda, died of COVID-19 June 18, three weeks after being diagnosed with the virus. His family contends he became infected at the Storm Lake plant, where he worked for 27 years, The Sioux City Journal reported.
The lawsuit, filed by Everhard’s three children, argues that Tyson and its managers required him and other employees to continue working in an environment “rife with coronavirus” and didn’t implement safety precautions to protect them from contracting the virus, Storm Lake attorney Willis Hamilton said.
In response, Tyson spokeswoman Liz Croston said the company has implemented several measures at its facilities that meet or exceed federal guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
It is not the first legal action taken against the Arkansas-based company since the pandemic began. The company suspended top officials at a pork plant in Waterloo, Iowa, in November following allegations that they had been betting on how many workers would get infected during a coronavirus outbreak that eventually infected 1,000 workers and killed at least six.
Tyson said it has hired a law firm, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, to investigate the allegations in Waterloo.