LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former employee of a Staples fulfillment center in La Mirada is suing the company, alleging the office supply store chain has put profits over safety when it comes to protecting the warehouse work force during the coronavirus pandemic.
Richard Booth's proposed Los Angeles Superior Court class-action lawsuit alleges that some of the conditions at Staples facilities amount to a public nuisance and that the health of employees, customers and family members are all potentially affected.
A Staples representative could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit, which was filed Friday and seeks unspecified damages.
Many Staples warehouse employees work within close proximity of each other, according to the complaint, which says it's “critical for a company like Staples to implement proper procedures to stop the spread of COVID-19 amongst their employees and the public.''
“Defendant's failure to take measures to stop the spread of this virulent disease has serious implications and potentially catastrophic consequences,'' the suit alleges.
Booth worked at Staples' La Mirada warehouse from August 2017 until June 3 of this year and alleges at least two workers contracted the coronavirus at the Trojan Way building.
From the start of the pandemic, Staples management has failed to take such safety measures as staggering work shifts and implementing social distance rules, his suit alleges. Workers who feel ill go to work anyway because they fear they will be punished for not showing up, according to the plaintiff.
The La Mirada warehouse has two restrooms with sinks that must be shared by about 100 employees, according to the suit, which alleges that common areas and restrooms are not adequately cleaned and supervisors leave it up to workers to sanitize the workplace.
Hand sanitizing is only available in one location in the warehouse, if it is available at all, the suit alleges. The plaintiff also claims that masks are given out once a month and gloves are provided only after the old ones are worn out.
“Many of defendants' employees, forced to fend for themselves, have had to purchase their own supplies...,'' the suit states.
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