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Chicken Hanger Sues Tyson & Governor

GREENVILLE, Miss. (CN) - An embezzler assigned to work as a chicken hanger at Tyson Foods as part of his restitution says he got tuberculosis from working off his "indentured servitude and slavery" at a chicken factory "filled with dust, feathers and chicken feces." He sued Tyson, the governor and other state officials in Federal Court.

Marvin Jones says he was taken to Leflore County Restitution Center after serving 3 months in jail for embezzlement, and the head of Leflore assigned him to work at Tyson as a chicken hanger.

A chicken hanger catches live chickens and hangs them by their feet to a moving wire. Jones says Tyson encouraged this "inhumane behavior" by offering extra money to employees who could hang 25 chickens a minute.

Jones says the chicken plant was an "unsanitary" and "unhealthy" environment because he would often be covered in chicken feces and Tyson workers urinated near the slaughter line.

Jones says that as soon as he started working at the plant, his face, neck and hands swelled up, but after a short reassignment the Restitution Center made him go back to Tyson, even after he had earned enough money "to satisfy his restitution."

"Against his will," he says, he continued working.

He also accuses Tyson of "hiring illegal immigrants from Latin America who may have carried the TB virus" into the chicken plant.

Jones seeks punitive damages for "cruel and unusual conditions" in the workplace and other charges. He is represented by Joseph Murray II of Ripley, Miss.

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