A Silver Lake woman and her three daughters are suing See’s Candies Inc., alleging she contracted COVID-19 in March while working for the company and subsequently infected her 72-year-old husband, who died of complications from the virus.
Matilde Ek, 70, and her daughters brought the suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging wrongful death and negligence. Her husband Arturo, a restaurant server, died April 20. The plaintiffs seek unspecified damages.
A See’s Candies representative could not be immediately reached for comment.
Matilde Ek was employed in an assembly line at See’s Candies’ packing facility on Alameda Street in Carson, according to the suit, which says See’s management was aware of the “highly dangerous, contagious and transmissible nature of the virus” and that employees were working and interacting in close proximity.
The workers complained about the job environment directly to management and through their union in the hope of getting safer work conditions, the suit says. However, management did not “operate and conduct their business as would and should be expected to protect their employees,” the suit alleges.
Sometime in early to mid-March, Ek, while working and interacting in close proximity to other employees on the production line, in restrooms and in the break rooms, was exposed to people coughing and sneezing and became infected with the coronavirus, along with other co-workers, the suit states.
Unable to remain at work, Ek went home to convalesce, where she soon infected her husband and one of their daughters, Karla Ek-Elhadidy, the suit states. Less than a month later, her husband died of COVID-19, according to the suit.
See’s management knew or should have known that work conditions at the plant were risky and that an employee could contract the coronavirus and transmit it to a family member, the suit alleges.