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Walmart employee’s family files wrongful death lawsuit

Walmart logo is seen at a store in Mountain View, California, United States on Tuesday, November 19, 2019.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The family of a Walmart employee in Illinois who died from complications of COVID-19 filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday, alleging the retailer knew about the man’s symptoms and disregarded them.

Wando Evans, 51, died March 25. He was a 15-year employee of Walmart who worked as an overnight stock and maintenance associate in Evergreen Park, about 16 miles southwest of Chicago, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Cook County, Illinois by Tony S. Kalogerakos, an attorney at Injury Lawyers of Illinois.

According to the lawsuit, Evans told store managers about his symptoms, but was ignored. The store sent him home from work on March 23 and he was found dead in his home two days later, the lawsuit says.

Walmart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The retailer knew other employees in addition to Evans were showing signs of the coronavirus, too, according to the lawsuit. It said that another man who worked  at the store died on March 29.

The lawsuit alleges Walmart was negligent because it did not adequately clean the store, enforce social distancing, notify employees about colleagues who were showing coronavirus symptoms and provide protective gear, such as gloves and masks.

Walmart, the largest private employer in the U.S., has seen a surge in sales as customers have stocked up on food, cleaning products and paper goods. The retailer said it would hire 150,000 new workers to keep up with that increased demand.

As coronavirus cases increase in the U.S., Walmart has announced new measures to keep customers and employees safe. It’s shortened store hours to allow more time for restocking and cleaning. It recently announced that it will limit the number of customers in stores and take temperatures of all employees when they report to work. It also gave bonuses to full- and part-time employees.

—CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report. 

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