The family is suing after the deli worker dies while working from contracting the coronavirus.
A Florida family has filed a lawsuit against Publix in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court alleging the supermarket engaged in unsafe business practices that contributed to the death of 70-year-old Gerardo Gutierrez, a deli clerk who was exposed after exposure to the Coronavirus had died at work. According to the lawsuit, Publix has “banned employees from wearing masks and gloves” despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending wearing masks in public facilities to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
“Gerardo Gutierrez was told by Publix that he could not wear a mask despite the fact that he wanted to wear one, but he kept going to work every day believing what Publix said that all necessary measures had been taken to to protect him. Attorneys Michael E. Levine and A. Dax Bello, who represent the family, said in a joint statement. “However, Publix has minimized, downplayed, misrepresented and otherwise concealed the risk to its employees by banning masks and other personal protective equipment. Publix was more concerned with protecting its sales and profits and didn’t want to cause panic among customers. Who would be turned off with employees wearing masks? Publix made a deliberate choice to protect sales from the health and wellbeing of its employees and customers as employees, especially a 70 year old who works alongside a sick employee like Gerardo Gutierrez, are exposed to COVID-. 19 and die. “
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
According to the lawsuit, Gutierrez’s deli worker once showed “signs and symptoms consistent with COVID-19, but Publix was unable to send them home.” At around the same time, Publix CEO Todd Jones was telling customers and employees, “The company cares about your health and well-being.” He insisted that it obey federal and state orders, although the family does not claim to be .
“Shortly thereafter, employee Jane Doe tested positive. Publix sent Gutierrez home on April 2, telling him to self-isolate. He gave in, but it was too little, too late, ”claims the lawsuit. Gutierrez had already contracted the virus from his colleague and showed symptoms on April 6. He was hospitalized on April 10th and died on April 28th.
As the virus continued to spread, Publix finally announced that it would “give employees the option to wear gloves and masks”. However, customers did not have to wear PPE in all stores until July 21st. The lawsuit alleges the supermarket could have put guidelines in place to make the environment much safer and to save Gutierrez’s life. It reads: “Publix knowingly put Gutierrez at risk” and “was warned that its policies regarding the use of personal protective equipment by employees were utterly inadequate and resulted in employees falling ill but not taking timely action.”
Levine said, “This case is really about a company that is taking advantage of these workers’ backs and telling them you can’t wear a mask, you can’t wear PPE, you can’t protect yourself.”
The family is seeking $ 30,000 for their loss.
Lawsuit alleges Publix policies resulted in the 70-year-old deli worker contracting coronavirus and dying
Family files complain of the death of a Publix employee. It is said that the company did not protect him from Covid-19