Two Employees Die From COVID-19 Complications After Store Allegedly Fails to Take Precautions

The family of a deceased Walmart employee has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company, alleging Walmart failed to properly respond to symptoms of COVID-19 among workers at one Chicago-area store. According to the suit, a worker was sent home from work and died from COVID-19 complications 2 days later. The overnight stock and maintenance manager had worked at the company’s Evergreen Park location for 15 years and first mentioned his symptoms to management 2 weeks before his death on March 25, 2020. Another store employee allegedly died due to COVID-19 complications on March 29. Court documents claim that employee concerns about COVID-19 were largely ignored.

Coverage from ABC News suggests Walmart’s negligence in this case comes from the store’s alleged failure to:

  • Implement, promote, and enforce social distancing guidelines
  • Cleanse and sanitize the store in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, and antibacterial soaps and wipes to store employees

The decedent’s family counsel explains:

As ‘high-volume retailers,’ Walmart stores are “responsible for taking additional precautions to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19.”

OSHA Violations

In addition to filing a wrongful death claim for Walmart’s alleged negligence, the decedent’s lawyers are requesting an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation into the safety protocol of the Walmart in question.

Walmart has acknowledged the legal action and added extra safety measures, like conducting temperature checks and providing masks and gloves to employees who want them. A spokesperson said the company is “heartbroken at the passing of 2 associates,” and emphasized Walmart “will respond with the court once we have been served with the complaint.”

Although the changes enacted by the company are beneficial, they may never have happened if the decedent’s family did not pursue legal action.

Employee Rights

Every worker in the United States has the right to a safe workplace. When these rights are jeopardized, the results are incredibly dangerous. During the COVID-19 pandemic, safety may look different. If you are not provided with PPE while completing an essential job, you may need legal help.

Final Thoughts

Although the rules around wrongful death lawsuits in the time of COVID-19 are constantly emerging, our firm remains on the cutting edge of the legal industry.

This important case may be the first wrongful death lawsuit in the country for disregarding coronavirus, and we are anxious to see the outcome. In the meantime, if you have legal concerns, our team at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin is here for you.

For help with a wrongful death suit or another personal injury case, please contact us today at (561) 922-0258 or online.

Together, we can get through this difficult time.