While some workers were laid off due to COVID-19 and others were lucky enough to work remotely, some people had jobs that deemed them as essentials, and they needed to travel to their jobs, despite the current stay at home advisories. As such, these people are at higher risk for contracting the Coronavirus that has most people quarantined.
Walmart employees have had to go into their stores to perform normal duties, such as stocking and fulfilling orders. One such employee in Illinois did as he was instructed and came in to the store during this outbreak.
Around the beginning of March, the employee let supervisors know that he wasn’t feeling well and showed symptoms of COVID-19, but his management team did not take any measures to look into it, or protect him. As a result, a few weeks after letting the management team know, he was found dead in his home. A relative then filed a wrongful death claim against Walmart for not taking the proper precautions and steps to protect workers.
Two days prior to his death, he was sent home from his job at an overnight shift. The suit claims that Walmart did not do enough to protect workers, including distance between each other, personal protective gear, and/or soaps. Not only a few days later, another employee from the same store also died, bolstering the claim against the retail giant.
An OSHA investigation has been requested into the store; as a larger store, the CDC notes that Walmart, and other larger retail stores, need to take extra precautions to protect their workers.
As cities, states, and the country as a whole tries to figure out how to protect workers and stop the spread of the virus, while balancing people needing to return to work to continue to earn a living, people are scared and confused. However, companies should take extra precaution to protect those in their stores and warehouses and listen when people say they don’t feel well. Many small business have implemented mandatory masks while shopping and some have begun to test temperatures to keep anyone with a fever from potentially passing the virus onto other patrons and workers.
By ignoring worker concerns, big box corporations, such as Walmart, could be responsible for the spread of the virus to other workers and to patrons who visit the stores and touch items handled by infected workers, as the virus can survive for days on certain surfaces. A helpful tip is to wipe down any goods you purchase with disinfectant to remove any chance of the virus spreading to your and your loved ones once you own it. Also be sure to wash any produce as the virus can survive on it for a bit of time; in the end, it is much better to be safe than sorry and need a trip to the hospital. While some people re asymptomatic, others have suffered respiratory issues and severe fevers, needing respirators to help them recover.
Walmart is clearly in some hot water because of these deaths. As time progresses, we will keep an eye on how this wrongful death case develops. If you feel a loved one suffered a wrongful death due to another’s negligence, contact our offices immediately to speak with a Colorado Springs wrongful death lawyer so we can go over the details of the event and advise you properly.