A former workers’ compensation attorney for Tyson Foods filed a lawsuit against the company in an Iowa state court, claiming he was wrongfully terminated from his job.
The attorney, Todd Beresford, also claimed that company officials made anti-homosexual slurs, filed false information in workers’ compensation cases, and discriminated against people because of age and gender, reported the Des Moines Register.
Beresford stated that he was hired by Tyson Foods as a litigation attorney in June 2000, succeeding Chris Godfrey, who went into private practice and later became the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner. The two worked together briefly at Tyson Foods, and they remained friends after Godfrey’s departure from the company.
Beresford in 2005 took a new position with Tyson Foods, in which he oversaw Tyson’s workers’ compensation program for its Fresh Meats division. According to Beresford’s allegations, Tyson Foods terminated partly because he complained to corporate officials that the company was providing inaccurate information in workers’ compensation cases as a means to deny employees payments for injuries sustained while on the job.
Beresford also claimed a company vice president referred to Godfrey, who is gay, by using anti-gay slurs. The discrimination claims stem from when the company allegedly terminated four middle-aged men and replaced them with younger women.
Tyson Fresh Meats has facilities in the Iowa communities of Storm Lake, Waterloo and Perry.
A diversified protein company, Tyson Foods is the largest broiler company and fifth largest turkey company in the United States, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database. It is also a major producer of beef and pork, and has recently entered the plant-based protein sector.