Hudsonville Egg Farm at the center of the COVID-19 log lawsuit
Sunrise Acres Egg Farm in Hudsonville, Michigan is at the center of a lawsuit alleging it failed to implement COVID-19 safety protocols.
A handful of workers have just decided to sue Sunrise Acres Egg Farm in Hudsonville, Michigan for “negligent behavior with COVID-19 security measures at the start of the pandemic.” The lawsuit was filed by Juana Beatrice Castaneda Sanchez, Juan Carlos Covarrubias and Margarita Rodriguez in Ottawa County’s 20th District Court on May 25 against Sunrise Acres, recruitment firm C&C West Poultry, and others. The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice represent the plaintiffs.
COVID-19 graphic; Image courtesy of Matryx via Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/
Sunrise Acres Egg Farm has been operating in Hudsonville since 1949. It is a family business. The lawsuit itself was filed against the family-owned farm because plaintiffs argue that “Sunrise Acres did not implement coronavirus safety protocols, resulting in all three people contracting COVID-19 while working”. In addition, employees claim they have “never received paid sick leave for the time they missed during home quarantine”.
For those who don’t know, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress last year requires employers to “provide paid sick leave and extended family and sick leave.” However, that particular provision expired on December 31st.
According to the lawsuit, employees first raised concerns about COVID-19 and the company’s security protocols last April, but their concerns have allegedly been ignored. Plaintiffs add that “adequate personal protective equipment was not provided, social distancing was not enforced, and workers showing symptoms of COVID-19 were allowed to continue working.” In addition, the lawsuit alleges that “a worker who contracted COVID-19 had to be in isolation, but other workers who came into contact with the person did not”. It also says:
“The defendants blatantly ignored growing concerns about the contagiousness of the COVID-19 virus and failed to enforce policies in violation of federal guidelines and ultimately Michigan Executive Orders for protective measures that required enforcement.”
As part of the lawsuit, plaintiffs are seeking emotional and economic damage, including compensation for lost wages if they were quarantined. Commenting on the lawsuit, MIRC attorney Gonzalo Peralta said:
“We applaud the courage of workers like Juana to raise their concerns … At the start of the pandemic, farm workers were considered indispensable and yet Juana’s employer did not take the necessary steps to protect their workers … Juana and her fellow workers deserve to be in.” to work in an environment that ensures their health and safety. It is an unfortunate reality that employers must be forced to act and redress injustices through litigation. “
Workers file lawsuit against egg farm in Hudsonville for COVID-19 logs
Ottawa County’s egg producer has 7 workers test positive for coronavirus