Family sues Tyson Foods for negligence after employee dies of virus
The children of Pedro Cano claim the meatpacking facility their father worked at did not have appropriate precautions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus
The family of a man who worked for Tyson Foods has pressed charges against the company after he died of coronavirus earlier this year.
Pedro Cano, 51, was a meatpacker working “elbow-to-elbow,” the suit claims, with fellow maskless and gloveless employees at a pork processing plant in eastern Iowa in April when he contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel virus that has thrown the world into a pandemic.
A lawsuit is accusing Tyson of “gross negligence” after not informing factory workers of proper safety precautions to prevent being exposed to the virus.
The plant closed down in early April after more employees tested positive for the potentially deadly disease, as reported by the Des Moines Register.
By April 10, Cano had to be hospitalized. He died from complications of coronavirus on April 14, according to Sioux City Journal.
According to the Des Moines Register, Tyson Foods had created a coronavirus taskforce back in January, and Tyson Foods posted a statement that corporate employees were to work from home as early at March 17.
However, plants and factories were deemed essential and remained open in order to send food to grocery stores.
The Columbus Junction, Iowa plant was the first in the state to report positive cases of coronavirus. Although Tyson implemented more safety precautions at other plants after the Columbus Junction factory shut down, coronavirus would spread to plants in the Iowa cities of Perry, Waterloo and Storm Lake.
When the Columbus Junction plant closed on April 6, 24 Tyson employees of the Iowa plants tested positive, at first. That number later grew to 522.
Cano’s family is suing Tyson Foods because it failed to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19, which stated on March 9 that employers were to provide employees with protective equipment and education on how to prevent transmitting the virus.
The grievance states that Tyson Foods “had not provided adequate training or instruction” to Cano and his co-workers to “minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.” It also states Tyson failed to “provide reasonable screening of employees arriving for their shifts for symptoms of COVID-19.”
The lawsuit was issued by Cano’s three adult children, Jennifer, Kimberly and Peter.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!