The family of longtime meat factory worker Jose Angel Chavez has filed a lawsuit against Tyson Foods Inc., claiming that the company is responsible for failing to take appropriate steps to protect its staff
Chavez worked for Tyson Foods for over 20 years and died April 17 from complications that are from COVID-19, according to the suit. This is the third lawsuit in Texas federal court against Tyson by family members of plant workers that reportedly died from the coronavirus.
The Chavez family filed the suit on May 18 in Shelby County District Court, claiming that Tyson was aware that some plant workers had contracted the coronavirus but didn’t warn employees or help prevent the spread or harm. The family is seeking exemplary damages based on Tyson’s shown negligence that would have led to a mass infection.
Tyson Foods released a statement on Tuesday that expressed sympathy towards the family for their loss. The company stated that the health of its workers is a top priority and has placed protocols that meet or exceed the CDC and OSHA guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Other lawsuits emerged beginning of May against Tyson from family members that lost family members working for the company’s branch out in Amarillo, Texas. The families alleged that there were at least 4,500 Tyson workers contracted the virus since the pandemic happened, 18 of them passing.
The lawyer representing the Chavez family said that Tyson doesn’t compensate their Texas employees with normal workers’ compensation insurance and this allows the Texas employees’ families to sue Tyson.
A finding by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in early May says that around 5,000 plant workers had contracted the virus, and with the passing of 20 workers, there was an urge for the meat industry to reduce the risk for staff members.
The CDC’s report was followed very shortly with the request of President Trump making meat processors be critical during the pandemic. Tyson Foods happens to be the largest meat processor in the country and worked with Trump administration claiming that shutdowns related to the coronavirus would lead to meat shortages.
Trump’s orders were criticized by Democrats and workers’ groups who warned of more sickness and death among the factory staff.
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If you or a loved one was diagnosed with COVID-19 because your employer failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), contact The Carlson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. We are here to ensure your rights are protected and that businesses are held accountable when they fail to protect their employees.