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Tyson Foods Drops After Suspending Managers Betting on Covid

Tyson suspends managers at its plant in Iowa that were involved in a "winner-take-all betting pool on how many employees would test positive for COVID-19."

Shares of Tyson Foods  (TSN) - Get Tyson Foods Inc. Report dropped Friday after the meat processor suspended managers at an Iowa pork plant after allegations that they placed wagers on whether employees would contract coronavirus after being ordered back to work.

Shares of Springdale, Arkansas company were down 1.81% to $61.21 at the last check.

On Thursday, Chief Executive Dean Banks said the company was "extremely upset" about the accusations and would take appropriate action if these claims were legitimate.

"We expect every team member at Tyson Foods to operate with the utmost integrity and care in everything we do. We have suspended, without pay, the individuals allegedly involved and have retained the law firm Covington & Burling LLP to conduct an independent investigation led by former Attorney General Eric Holder," he said in a statement.

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"If these claims are confirmed, we’ll take all measures necessary to root out and remove this disturbing behavior from our company."

In an amended complaint to a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Isidro Fernandez, a Tyson Foods employee who died of COVID-19 complications earlier this year, lawyers alleged that managers at a Waterloo, Iowa facility operated by Tyson “organized a cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool for supervisors and managers to wager how many employees would test positive for COVID-19."

Tyson Foods had overhauled its work environments to help lessen the spread of coronavirus. It stepped up deep cleaning and sanitizing its facilities, especially employee break rooms in early Spring following the suspension of operations at its Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork plant due to more than two dozen cases of coronavirus involving staff at the facility.

President Trump in late April issued an order that compelled Tyson, and its rivals Smithfield Foods and Cargill, to keep their plants open in order to prevent food shortages from the coronavirus pandemic after Tyson chairman John Tyson said supply chains were 'breaking'.