Six of seven former managers fired from a Tyson Foods pork processing plant after participating in a COVID-19 betting pool are suing the company for incentive pay, according to the Des Moines Register.
The former managers are requesting roughly $300,000 in payments from Tyson, claiming the Waterloo, Iowa plant met production targets that ensured them extra compensation for their performance, the newspaper said.
The seven people were fired in December 2020. The month prior, a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a former Tyson worker who died of COVID-19 claimed managers at the meat plant had organized a “cash buy-in, winner-take-all betting pool” for supervisors to predict how many employees would test positive for the virus.
Former manager Tom Hart, who is suing for $125,000, said in an affidavit that he facilitated the betting pool as a “team building exercise” because the managers were exhausted from their workload, the Des Moines Register reported.
Nearly 1,200 of the 2,800 workers at the Waterloo plant tested positive for the virus in April 2020, the company said in a letter submitted to Congress. Before firing the managers, Tyson hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an independent investigation into the Waterloo plant.
A representative for Tyson declined to comment on the lawsuit.