Skip to content

Walmart Employee COVID-19 Cases Are Higher Than Company Claims, Says Report

The retailer faces continued scrutiny over coronavirus infections among workers.

While Walmart was praised for early implementation of in-store safety measures to protect customers, the retail giant is under continued scrutiny about the number of employees infected with coronavirus.

Deemed an essential business, Walmart locations remained opened all over the United States during the pandemic. But it's Walmart's employees that are paying a price for the uninterrupted service.

Back in April, CEO Doug McMillon assured employees that being on the front lines of the pandemic isn't translating into higher infection rates. In an open letter to the Walmart community, he stated that the infection rate among employees was in line with that of the general population, at about less than 1%. However, United for Respect, an advocacy group for Walmart workers, reports that the number of infected employees is now in the thousands, with at least 22 confirmed deaths. Walmart has not yet provided an updated percentage.

The company faced its share of legal controversy in handling COVID-19 infections among employees. A wrongful death lawsuit in April alleged that the death of a store worker in Illinois was a direct result of Walmart ignoring a rampant infection in their store and failing to properly protect employees. Later that month, a Massachusetts public health director sent Walmart a cease and desist notice to force them to shut down a local store in order to test employees—85 ended up testing positive.

To date, the company doled out around $755 million in special cash bonuses to hourly associates, and have accelerated payments of $170 million in a regular bonuses. Employees can also take advantage of the company's emergency leave policy which has been extended until July 31. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news delivered straight to your inbox.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Deputy News Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura
Filed Under