Tyson Foods has sacked seven plant management employees at the US meat giant’s site in Waterloo, Iowa, following an independent probe into a betting pool linked to Covid-19 infections.

In November, Tyson suspended top officials at its largest pork processing plant amid a law suit brought by the family of one worker who died from Covid-19, alleging management organised a betting pool on how many employees would contract the virus.

The facility in Waterloo witnessed a major Covid-19 outbreak during the spring and into the summer which reportedly infected more than 1,000 workers, with six having died.

Tyson did not name the management personnel nor the positions they filled in a statement yesterday (16 December) announcing the “termination” of the seven jobs.

President and CEO Dean Banks said: “We value our people and expect everyone on the team, especially our leaders, to operate with integrity and care in everything we do. The behaviours exhibited by these individuals do not represent the Tyson core values, which is why we took immediate and appropriate action to get to the truth. Now that the investigation has concluded, we are taking action based on the findings.” 

Banks has now pledged to open up more communication channels for employees and has created a “working group of local community leaders to strengthen collaboration”, while emphasising and “reinforcing the importance of Tyson Foods’ core values and team behaviours”.

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Tyson had engaged the law firm Covington & Burling to conduct the independent investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder.