- Walmart is facing a lawsuit from the family of Wando Evans, who died on March 25 after contracting the coronavirus.
- Evans worked for a Walmart store in Evergreen Park, Illinois. The lawsuit alleges Evans was “ignored” after mentioning symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to store management.
- Walmart said it’s taking the issue seriously and will respond with the court once the company has been served with the complaint.
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Walmart is facing a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of an employee who died after contracting the coronavirus.
The employee, 51-year-old Wando Evans, worked in maintenance and overnight stocking at a Walmart store in Evergreen Park, Illinois. He had worked for Walmart for 15 years. A second employee who worked at the same store has also died after contracting the coronavirus.
Evans “first mentioned symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to store management two weeks ago but was ignored,” according to a statement from Tony S. Kalogerakos, the attorney who filed the lawsuit. “On March 23, 2020, Evans was sent home by store management; two days later he was found dead in his home.”
The lawsuit claims that Walmart “failed to address and otherwise ignored” Wando and several other employees who told management that they were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The lawsuit also claims that the company failed to warn anyone, including customers and employees, that people with COVID-19 symptoms were “present and active within the store.”
The suit further alleges that Walmart did not provide employees with adequate protective or cleaning gear and did not follow recommendations by federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
This put “not only its employees but the general public at risk,” Kalogerakos’ statement said. “It took additional measures only after Wando’s death.”
Walmart said it’s taking the issue seriously and will respond with the court once the company has been served with the complaint.
Walmart also said it was heartbroken by the death of Evans and another employee of the same store, who also recently died after contracting the coronavirus.
“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,” the company said. “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, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat.”
Walmart also highlighted other steps it has taken amid the pandemic, including installing sneeze guards at registers, placing social distancing signs on its floors, and limiting the number of customers who can be in its stores at once.
Walmart has also announced plans to provide gloves and masks for all its US associates and start taking employees’ temperatures at the start of their shifts.