As Americans stock up for quarantine, grocery store workers have become among the most essential workers in the country. Unfortunately, they are also among the most vulnerable when it comes to contracting COVID-19.
NBC News reports that the family of Wando Evans, 51, is suing Walmart for what it claims to be “willful and gratuitous fault, reckless contempt and gross negligence”. Evans was a night storekeeper at a Chicago area Walmart. The lawsuit alleges that management ignored Evans when it brought to their attention that he was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. He was finally sent home on March 23 and only two days later, he was found dead at his home.
From NBC News:
Walmart “had a duty to exercise due diligence to keep the store in a safe and healthy environment and, in particular, to protect employees, customers and others within the store from contracts with COVID-19 when he knew or should have known that the store presented a very high risk of infection and exposure ”, indicates the lawsuit.
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Walmart has been criticized for being slow to protect employees and customers from virus infection. Just last week, they announced they were taking precautionary measures such as checking worker temperatures. Melissa Love has been a Walmart employee for four years and a member of United for Respect, a workers’ rights group. She told NBC News, “They didn’t adopt the emergency leave policy until an employee tested positive for COVID-19 in Kentucky. They blocked the implementation of social distancing for weeks after the CDC announced guidelines on March 16, and most of us don’t even have access to gloves, masks, or a sanitizer yet. hands. “
It’s not a good look for Walmart if the allegations prove true. Employees put themselves in danger to provide essential goods that the public needs to pass the quarantine. Preventive measures are not entirely preventive if they are issued after the problem has already taken root.