LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former employee of a cheese making factory is suing the company and a staffing agency, alleging she was wrongfully fired for complaining about the lack of social distancing in the workplace given the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Sandra J. Larios de Bravo's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Personnel Staffing Group LLC and Saputo Cheese USA Inc. alleges wrongful termination, retaliation and discrimination. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages in the suit filed Friday.
Representatives for the defendants could not be reached for comment. The suit states both companies are located in Los Angeles.
In 2017, Personnel Staffing placed Larios de Bravo at her packaging job at Saputo Cheese, where she was primarily responsible for packing and organizing cheese as well as doing quality control work, according to her complaint.
Saputo Cheese determined the plaintiff's day-to-day duties, including her work schedule, assignments and break times, the suit states.
Larios de Bravo went to work April 27 feeling tired and had muscle cramping, symptoms she attributed to her diabetes, the suit states. She told her boss how she felt and the supervisor asked if she could stay and complete a five-hour shift, the suit states. Larios de Bravo agreed and returned the next day feeling well, according to her suit.
The plaintiff's shift supervisor asked her if she was feeling sick the day before and Larios de Bravo replied that she had been ill, but was now better, the suit states.
Larios de Bravo also made an internal complaint to her boss about alleged health and safety COVID-19 violations due to lack of social distancing in the workplace, which allegedly caused an employee to contract the virus, the suit states.
The supervisor asked the plaintiff to go home and test for the coronavirus with the promise she would not be fired for doing so, the suit states. Larios tested positive for the coronavirus on May 4 and Personnel Staffing told her to stay home until she tested negative, the suit states.
Larios de Bravo obtained a negative test result on May 20, but Personnel Staffing told her she would have to test negative for a second time, according to the suit. She stayed home and tested negative again on June 19, but instead of giving the plaintiff work, Personnel Staffing accused her of lying about her COVID-19 symptoms on April 27 and of bringing the virus to the workplace, the suit states.
Larios de Bravo was fired that same day and left “embarrassed, ashamed, emotionally broken and in financial desperation,'' the suit states.
The plaintiff alleges she lost her job for getting sick, for taking a leave of absence and for complaining about the lack of social distancing on the job.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images