Walmart was recently hit with a wrongful death lawsuit after an employee died from COVID-19 complications.
The family of Wando Evans, 51, recently decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Walmart after Evans, a former Walmart employee, died from complications of COVID-19. According to the suit, Walmart “knew about the man’s symptoms and disregarded them.” Evans died back on March 25. Before his death, he spent 15 years working as an overnight stock and maintenance associate at the Evergreen Park Walmart store in Illinois.
The retailer first became aware of his COVID-19 symptoms when Evans alerted his managers that he felt unwell and was experiencing symptoms of the virus. However, his managers allegedly ignored him. To make matters worse, the retailer “knew other employees, in addition to Evans, were showing signs of the coronavirus, too,” and did nothing, according to the suit. Tragically, Evans was found dead in his home on March 25, and a few days later “another man who worked at the store died on March 29.”
When commenting on the deaths, Walmart issued a statement saying it is “heartbroken at the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store and we are mourning along with their families.” The condolences haven’t stopped the criticism, though. According to the lawsuit filed by Evans’s family, Walmart was “negligent because it did not adequately clean the store, enforce social distancing, notify employees about colleagues who were showing coronavirus symptoms and provide protective gear, such as gloves and masks.”
The retailer has pushed back against the allegations, though. In a statement, Walmart said it “deep-cleaned the store and hired a company to clean the store and had a third-party and a health department inspect it.” Additionally, Walmart claims it “increased safety measures across the company by adding sneeze guards at cash registers, putting decals on the floors about social distancing and limiting the number of customers in stores.” It further stated, “We take this issue seriously and will respond with the court once we have been served with the complaint.”
When commenting on the lawsuit, Tony S. Kalogerakos, the family’s lawyer, said he attempted to “contact store managers and Walmart’s corporate offices to cover burial expenses through an emergency relief fund for employees.” He added that the family of Evans has not yet been able to “get an answer and decided to file the lawsuit after learning about the working conditions of the store.”
It’s important to note that, amid the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the nation, Walmart has announced measures aimed at keeping employees and customers said. For example, the retailer “reduced store hours in mid-March to allow more time for restocking and cleaning.” Additionally, it now has a limit on the number of customers allowed in stores, provided masks and gloves to employees, and takes employees’ temperatures when they report to work.