A former UPS employee has filed a proposed class action over what she alleges to be the parcel delivery giant’s “pattern and practice” of maintaining unsafe working conditions in California amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The plaintiff alleges in the 32-page lawsuit that the working conditions at United Parcel Service, Inc.’s 19 facilities in California have exposed thousands of workers in the state to a heightened risk of contracting COVID-19.
“It is critical for a company like UPS to implement proper procedures to stop the spread of COVID-19 amongst their employees and the public,” the complaint, filed in Alameda County Superior Court on October 30, 2020, reads.
Although UPS employees must work close to one another in the company’s warehouses and regularly engage with the public while making deliveries, the defendant has failed to offer basic personal protective equipment (PPE) while the employees are forced to work in “situations which put them and the public they serve at tremendous risk from COVID-19,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the complaint, UPS, in addition to its “moral obligation” to take reasonable steps to protect its workers, is bound by the California Labor Code to appropriately ensure a safe and healthful workplace. Instead, UPS, the lawsuit alleges, has “systematically endangered” employees’ health and safety on a daily basis.
“Among other issues … UPS has failed to provide PPE to its employees, implement social distancing protocols in the workplace, or adopt other programs and procedures necessary to reduce its employees’ risk of contracting COVID-19,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit says that at least three employees at UPS’ Santa Maria, California distribution center have contracted COVID-19.
Per the complaint, the plaintiff worked for UPS as a local sort supervisor from roughly October 2019 through May 2020. In that role, the woman was required to make schedules for warehouse associates and oversee and direct them while they unloaded delivery trucks, sorted packages and re-loaded the sorted goods into a semi-truck, the lawsuit says.
UPS is alleged to have failed to comply with at least five provisions of the California Labor Code that center on ensuring a workplace is safe and healthful. Further, the suit claims UPS has similarly missed the mark with regard to at least five sections of the Safety and Health Standards set forth by Cal/OSHA in the state’s labor law.
The suit, which was removed to California federal court on January 6, 2021, proposes to cover a class consisting of all current and former non-exempt workers employed by UPS throughout California at any time within the last four years.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.