The retail giant has remained open during the deadly contagion that has shut down the nation.
The lawsuit, which is not specific about the type of compensation being sought, was filed on Monday by the family of 51-year-old Wando Evans, a 15-year employee of the company’s Evergreen Park store, Complex reports. He died on March 25, two days after being sent home from work after experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms. According to the report, when Evans initially told his manager he was feeling ill, his claims were dismissed.
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The family of a Walmart employee who died from COVID-19 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging the company ignored symptoms and failed to safeguard workers. https://t.co/1uyoIqhCcK
— NPR (@NPR) April 8, 2020
According to NPR, the family is suing for willful and wanton misconduct, reckless disregard, and gross negligence. The suit also accuses managers of failing to enforce social distancing practices and provide employees with protective gear such as gloves and masks.
The wrongful death suit also claims the company failed to sterilize the location.
Four days after Evans died, another employee at the store—41-year-old Phillip Thomas—died from the disease.
Walmart released a statement Sunday, confirming the death of two Evergreen Park workers.
“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families,” a Walmart spokesperson told NPR. “While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas of the store.”
A spokesperson also offered a response to the lawsuit: “Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection. As an extra precaution, we brought in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store.” It is not clear when the first of those inspections and additional sanitizations were completed with respect to the two deaths, however