Burger King workers in Santa Monica, California went on strike this week to protest the COVID-19 death of a colleague.
One of her co-workers claimed in a complaint to OSHA and local public health agencies that Angela Martinez Gómez worked for a week while displaying coronavirus symptoms before walking out during a shift,
The complaint alleges that the Burger King franchise did not provide workers adequate protective gear, did not undergo frequent cleanings, and that managers allowed Gómez to continue working.
At least two of Gómez’s employees have now come down with COVID-19 symptoms. The complaint also alleges that a manager misled workers about Gómez’s cause of death, blaming it on the hormones that Gómez, a transgender woman, was taking.
Yolanda Garcia filed the complaint and said she is the third employee to develop symptoms.
“I don’t know of anyone who has been notified as a close contact or quarantined.
I told (the manager) I was going to get tested for COVID-19, and she said she was going to get tested too, but she also said she didn’t think Angela died of COVID-19, she said Angela died of injecting hormones. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
In the complaint Garcia detailed the timeline of her symptoms,
“I feel very worried and I have a bad headache.
July 8 I woke up coughing with chills, shaking and body aches, my right lung hurts making it difficult to breathe, and I am very tired. I am worried about my health and my family’s health; eight of us live together, and my brother and I both have diabetes. Last week I visited my grandchildren, and now I do not know if I have COVID-19, or if I gave it to them. I am worried.”
Anthony Castellane, a customer who befriended Gomez said on Facebook,
“I don’t eat fast food often, but I was trying to help my local economy lately by supporting places around me.
This employee at my local Burger King, an amazing transgendered individual, and I often would chit-chat WAY before and after my order was ready to see how things were going… has now passed due to COVID. I’m scared because I frequented the place a lot (for my health and others, especially the other employees…) and very shocked, frankly, someone so vibrant and genuine could pass so suddenly.”
Burger King told KTLA that it would close the restaurant for cleaning, but it did not comment on the specifics of the complaint.