Zuniga v. Safeway
Zuniga worked with about 1,700 at the Safeway Distribution Center in Tracy, California. The gigantic warehouse was hit by COVID-19 outbreak in mid-March but Safeway did nothing about it, according to the wrongful death lawsuit. On the contrary, Safeway posted a sign in March at the distribution center regarding employee guidelines on coronavirus. It specifically informed workers that personal protective gear such as masks and gloves were not recommended although advice by both federal and state authorities said otherwise.
Some workers who were ill with the virus were “required” to continue to work, including extra shifts. And workers who spoke about their concerns were threatened with losing “points,” which could lead to termination, according to the lawsuit.
By April 1, Zuniga tested positive for the virus and he was admitted to hospital. He died on April 13 of complications caused by COVID-19. Attorney Paul Matiasic, who is representing the Zuniga family, accuses Safeway of putting production and profits over the protection of its workers.
The wrongful death lawsuit argues that Safeway concealed the outbreak and failed to implement any coronavirus safeguards until after Zuniga was hospitalized and critically ill. Matiasic says that elderly family members also died from the virus after Safeway workers who were sick brought it home.
It wasn’t until after Zuniga’s death that Safeway said all employees would undergo thermal temperature readings and a health screening before entering the Tracy facility, reported Mercury News. In a separate but companion class-action lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Safeway is also accused of various California labor code violations.
McDonald’s COVID-19 Class Action Lawsuit
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- Turn off the soda fountains if they couldn’t spare an employee to operate them for guests
- Help enforce social distancing in the dining rooms
- Clean the bathrooms every half hour
- Franchises to provide facemasks and gloves for all employees, and to make hand sanitizer readily available to the public.
McDonalds can likely face more California labor lawsuits over how it mishandled the pandemic. Already three locations in Los Angeles and San Jose have sent notices of intent to sue to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. McDonald’s has 33 days to address their employees’ coronavirus-related allegations before it goes to court.