The coronavirus pandemic has led many businesses to shut down and operate with their employees taking on roles from their homes instead of coming into the office. Although these individuals can stay home and reduce the risk of exposure, many others cannot. Those who work at grocery stores and in other qualifying retail spaces continue to go into work, depending on their employers to keep them safe.
But what happens if a worker gets sick? What if someone contracts COVID-19 while on-the-job?
Many will likely ask this question in coming months. A current case is taking this question to the courts, asking the court system to hold an employer accountable after their loved one became ill and died from the coronavirus. The case involves the family of a Walmart Inc employee who argue the employer failed to take appropriate action to protect their employees. Their claim is built primarily on these two arguments:
Argument #1: Safety of current employees.
The woman’s family argues Walmart failed to follow the safety issued by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These guidelines include social distancing as well as cleaning and sanitation requirements.
The CDC has designated Walmart as a “high-volume retailer.” As a result, it is held to a higher standard when it comes to precautions for ensuring the safety of employees and customers.
Argument #2: Failure to properly screen.
The complaint also states Walmart failed to property screen new workers hired to meet increased demand that resulted from the pandemic.
The family has officially filed suit against Walmart, claiming negligence and wrongful death. This is likely the first of many cases connected to the coronavirus. Others in similar situations can learn from the progression of this case. We will provide additional updates on this and other cases as they become available.