Walmart Faces Lawsuit Over Worker's Death From Coronavirus Complications

Marco Green
April 8, 2020

The wrongful-death legal complaint in IL is one of the first such publicly known cases against Walmart.

The family of a Walmart Inc employee in IL who died after contracting COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, has filed a lawsuit accusing the retail giant of failing to adequately screen and protect workers.

The lawsuit filed in IL state court on Monday by the estate of Wando Evans says the Walmart store south of Chicago was not properly cleaned and employees were not given masks, gloves, antibacterial wipes or other protective equipment.

The legal complaint - filed on Monday by Evans' brother in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill. - alleges that Walmart's "willful and wanton misconduct and reckless disregard" led to Evans' illness and death on March 25. The case also says Evans' coworker, Phillip Thomas, died on March 29.

Over the weekend, the company had said it was "heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store".

The suit contends that Walmart was negligent for the worker's death because it did not adequately clean the store, enforce social distancing, notify employees about co-workers that had coronavirus symptoms, and provide protective gear, CNBC said.

In recent weeks Walmart has taken several safety measures including expanding paid leave policies; closing its stores overnight for cleaning and restocking; installing sneeze guards and social distance markers in stores; beginning temperature checks; and starting to make gloves and masks available to associates who want them.

Editor's note: Walmart is among NPR's sponsors.

"The Centers for Disease Control has designated Walmart stores as 'high-volume retailers", making them responsible for taking additional precautions to protect employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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