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U.S. workers hit McDonald’s with COVID-19 security class action

(Reuters) – Five McDonald’s workers in Chicago filed a lawsuit against the class against the chain on Tuesday, accusing it of failing to accept government safety guidelines for COVID-19 and endangering employees and their families.

PHOTO PHOTO: McDonald’s Workers Strike for Precautions as Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Continues, in Los Angeles, California, USA, April 6, 2020 REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson / File Photo

McDonald’s failed to provide a suitable disinfectant for hands, gloves and masks and did not notify its staff when an employee became infected with the new coronavirus, according to a copy of the lawsuit provided by a workers’ spokesman.

McDonald’s said in a statement that the allegations were inaccurate and that safety, including wellness and safety checks, was a top priority.

The workers asked the Illinois court to issue an order that would stop McDonald’s from requiring workers to reuse masks, load face masks with customers, and require the company to notify employees if a colleague becomes infected.

Separately, McDonald’s workers in three locations in California on Tuesday filed administrative lawsuits for allegedly dangerous conditions with the California Department of Safety and Health.

Employees of restaurants, warehouses and other major businesses that remained open during the COVID-19 epidemic protested and quit their jobs for fear of getting sick.

Trade groups have warned of a wave of lawsuits over the pandemic, but few cases have been filed.

Retailers Walmart Inc and meat producers JBS SA and Tyson Foods Inc have been sued for the deaths of COVID-19 employees.

Smithfield Foods Inc. [SFII.UL] was tried by a group of workers demanding security measures in a lawsuit, which, like the McDonald’s case, claims the company is a public inconvenience.

The Smithfield case was quickly dropped as the judge said the workplace was a matter for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, part of the Department of Labor.

Report by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Edited by Noelin Walder and Marguerite Choi

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