A former employee recently decided to sue Tomukun Noodle Bar in Ann Arbor after he was allegedly fired for testing positive for COVID-19.
COVID-19 has been around for much of the year, and it’s caused many businesses to shutter and even more people to lose their jobs. In some cases, people are even being fired for testing positive for the virus. For example, Tomukun Noodle Bar, an Ann Arbor restaurant, was recently hit with a lawsuit by a former waiter over allegations that he was fired for contracting COVID-19. The suit was filed by Nicolas Prada, a former waiter, and assistant manager at the restaurant.
According to the complaint, he became ill around June 24 and went home to rest. A few days later on June 27, he tested positive for COVID-10. Then, on July 1, the restaurant shared on its Facebook page that an employee received a positive COVID-19 test result. Because of that, Tomukun Noodle Bar announced it would “close all services at Noodle Bar to ensure that all staff are allowed to get tests and quarantine safely, if necessary.” The post stated:
“To further ensure the safety of our staff and customers, we will conduct a professional cleaning of our restaurant and continue to adhere to safety protocols with the guidance of the Washtenaw Health Department and the CDC.”
According to the lawsuit, Prada was then “refused legally required sick leave compensation during quarantine and was fired after being interrogated regarding the origin of his illness.”
Shortly after his positive COVID-19 test, the Washtenaw County Health Department contacted Prada and told him to self-quarantine for two weeks, which he did, according to the suit. On July 10, he messaged his manager to ask about returning to work. In the message, he said, “I got an email from the Washtenaw Health Department that I should be good.” The next day, during a 22-minute phone call with the Tong Hum Yon, the restaurant owner, Prada was accused of catching the virus at a part. Yon allegedly told him, “For PR reasons it would be best for you not to come back to work.”
Prada’s attorney, Noah Hurwitz, said the restaurant violated the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. As a result, he is seeking damages to help cover his lost income. The details of what the complaint is seeking are outlined below:
Award compensatory damages for monetary and non-monetary loss in whatever amount he is found to be entitled, including back and front pay, extreme mental and emotional distress, humiliation, outrage, economic damages, loss of employment opportunity, harm to reputation, loss of earning capacity, punitive damages, and any other damages available by law.