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Employer Handbook Posts for 11/20/2020
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The Employer Handbook by Eric B. Meyer

Lawsuit: Company managers wagered on how many employees will get coronavirus

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Imagine if one of your plant managers 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. That’s one of the scandalous allegations in a pair of amended complaints filed in federal court last week. You can read one of the amended complaints here.

How did I hear about these lawsuits? Some of you hit me up via email. Folks tagged me on LinkedIn. Plus, I read in my Facebook feed, of all places, about this report from Clark Kauffman at the Iowa Capital Dispatch. Mr. Kauffman details the series of claims being pursued against an employer and several managers and executives following several employees’ deaths.

Now, I’m not a workers’ compensation lawyer, especially not an Iowa workers’ compensation lawyer. But, presumably, the claims eclipse the workers’ compensation bar on claims for workplace-related injuries because the plaintiffs allege stuff like fraudulent misrepresentation and gross negligence.

Whether they are true is a completely different story. Remember that these are just allegations in complaints. They make for good headlines and not-as-good blog posts. That said, Law360 reports here that the employer has suspended several several “top officials” and engaged former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his law firm to investigate.

The Law360 story notes that the company has promised to “take all measures necessary to root out and remove this disturbing behavior from our company” if the investigation supports the allegations.

The company better hope that these claims don’t hold up. Otherwise, this is going to be one hecka-expensive tandem of lawsuits.


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