The lawsuit was filed by Ferdinand Benjamin on behalf of his father, Enock, who died of respiratory failure caused by COVID-19 on April 3.
Enock was a 70-year-old married man with two children who worked at a JBS beef plant in Souderton, Pennsylvania.
The lawsuit alleges that JBS put profits over safety by “deliberately” not telling employees that their co-workers were infected with COVID-19, while boosting production by adding an extra day of work.
He died one day after JBS finally got masks and other protective equipment for workers, according to the lawsuit.
“JBS treated workers as expendable and placed them standing shoulder to shoulder without basic protective equipment such as masks.”
At least eight workers have died at another JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado, as of May 18.
JBS, a Brazilian company owned by two billionaire brothers, is the world’s largest meat processor.
Pennsylvania is a major hotspot of COVID-19 infections among meat-processing workers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As of May 1, there were 858 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at 22 meat plants in Pennsylvania.