Former Employee Sues Tyson Foods Over COVID-19 Vaccination-Related Termination

A complaint initially filed in the Tennessee state court in February was removed to the federal counterpart on Thursday. The plaintiff sued his former employer, Tyson Foods, Inc. over their alleged violation of Tennessee COVID-19 laws. Specifically, he claims he was discharged from his job with Tyson over their misconception of him as unvaccinated and as retaliation for requesting workers’ compensation benefits.

In 2008, the plaintiff was hired by the defendant to work at their chicken processing factory in Union City, Tennessee. Throughout the fourteen years of his employment, the plaintiff contends he had no disciplinary action taken towards him.

The plaintiff received his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination in April 2021 and his second dose just one month later. In the fall 2021, Tyson required all of their employees to provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccination, the complaint said. According to the complaint, the plaintiff had lost his vaccination card and immediately began to contact hospital, clinic, and state officials so that he could obtain the proper records.

The plaintiff said he was terminated on November 29, 2021, for “not taking the vaccine.” The termination occurred despite the plaintiff obtaining “numerous records verifying his vaccination status and also [receiving] a replacement card from the State of Tennessee.”

According to the complaint, the plaintiff showed the records to Tyson upon receiving notice of his termination, at which point he was reinstated but kept on unpaid suspension. After weeks of unpaid suspension, Tyson informed him that he was once again terminated for not taking the COVID-19 vaccination. The plaintiff said he asserted that he was vaccinated and had the corresponding proof.;Tyson then stated that the reason for his termination was gross misconduct.

The plaintiff maintains that the real reasons for his termination from Tyson were because of the defendant’s false perception that he was unvaccinated and as retaliation because he filed for workers’ compensation due to an arm and hand injury.

The plaintiff is seeking injunctive relief, damages, and any other relief deemed necessary by the court.

The plaintiff is represented by Spragins Barnett & Cobb, PLC.