Employee complaints prompt Santa Clara County to look into COVID-19 workplace safety


Maria Ruiz said she lost her job at San Jose McDonald’s in the summer after reporting a violation of COVID-19 to her employer and refusing to work under unsafe conditions.

According to complaints filed with Santa Clara County’s Department of Public Health, Cal / OSHA and the Labor Workforce and Development, many others like her have also lost their jobs, faced harassment or faced silence because of their Employers ignore health and safety guidelines every day. Agency.

Ruth Silver Taubey, a San Jose attorney who regularly manages the complaint line for the Wedge Theft Coalition, said she has heard countless horror stories from workers, many of whom call her in tears as they pursue their jobs and their health. Afraid for

The Wedge Theft Coalition, the fight for $ 15 and other organizations supporting the workforce, have reported an odd amount of safety complaints coming from employees at the Santa Clara County fast-food chain.

At least seven complaints have been filed against Santa Clara County fast-food chains. A letter of Fight for $ 15 and sent to the International Association of Service Employees (SEIU), the Board of Supervisors, identifies more than 100 complaints that have infinitely more capabilities state-wise.

Complaints include lack of hot water to wash hands, failure to enforce social distinctions, failure to regularly disinfect touched surfaces, employ workers with visible COVID-19 symptoms, and more.

McDonald’s allegedly fired Ruiz at 2040 North First Street in San Jose, closing this fall.

Santa Clara County does not have an ordinance or public health order explicitly preventing retaliation against workers reporting health and safety violations related to COVID. But a resolution from Supervisor Cindy Chavez may go before the board on 17 November.

“No matter where you work in the county, you need the ability to watch out for your health and the health and well-being of your co-workers and your customers.”

A complaint stated that San Jose McDonald’s employees were allowed to work with visible COVID-19 symptoms and failed to notify employees exposed to two COVID-positive co-workers. The complaint states that the management did not tell the employees that they had the right to pay sick leave or to pay quarantine leave after their exposure.

In another complaint, management in a jack of Milpits in the Box fired an employee who followed a quarantine order to stay indoors after testing positive for COVID-19. According to the complaint the employee did not receive quarantine or sick pay and colleagues were not informed. A manager was not available to request a comment.

Supervisors will focus on ways to develop workplace safety protocols related to COVID-19 and to ensure employers’ adherence.

They would also consider authorizing a study of working conditions in the fast-food industry, and how the decisions of restaurant operators would affect employees and the public.

“It is really important that workers are protected because they are essential workers who are risking their lives,” Silver Tub said. “It is also important for all of us because when businesses do not comply, customers are at risk. Right now COVID-19 is exploding, and we all have to do our part. “

Employees with concerns about COVID-19 can report them via this link or call (408) 961-5500.

The Board of Supervisors meets on November 17 at 9:30 am. The agenda and related documents can be found here. See the meeting here.

Contact Madeleine Reese [email protected] And follow him @MadelynGReese.

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