Infected employee in Wisconsin holds employer accountable for wife’s death

The employee claims he got infected at work and passed it on to his wife who succumbed to COVID in May last year


An employee working for ConAgra Foods, at a plant in Walworth County, Wisconsin, has held the Company responsible for his wife’s death. The employee, Rigoberto Ruiz, alleges that his employer had not enforced COVID protocols properly. He alleges that no policies were in place to ensure that employees maintained strict social distancing or wore masks at all times inside the plant. According to him, he contracted coronavirus at work and ended up infecting his wife, who later succumbed to the disease.

Ruiz claims that supervisors at the plant never pulled up staff who were seen without masks nor did they take any action against those who did not comply.
In May, last year, Ruiz’s wife died due to COVID-19-related complications.

The Company, however, maintains that it had in place all kinds of preventive measures to ensure the safety of the staff; that it was following social-distancing and mask-wearing protocols; that plexiglass barriers had been provided to separate work stations wherever employees were less than six feet apart.

In July,2020, about 221 members of the 800-strong workforce at the plant had tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, it was termed as one of the largest outbreaks among the plants and business units in Wisconsin as per statistics from the health department of the state.

Meanwhile, Conagra Brands, owner of ConAgra Foods, wants the case to be shifted to the federal court in Wisconsin’s eastern district.

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