SALT LAKE CITY — A woman who contracted the coronavirus in Utah has sued her employer arguing the American Fork-based company did not take proper precautions to protect its employees against COVID-19.
Juana Victoria Flores filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Built Bar, which manufactures and distributes nutritional supplements, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Flores said she emailed human resources April 8 concerned about the number of people on the production line who were sick and recommended a professional company be brought in to clean up or fumigate the building.
Flores developed a cough the next day and was diagnosed with the coronavirus less than a week later, she said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Flores never received a response to her email, she said.
The lawsuit claims Built Bar “knowingly, intentionally and recklessly” exposed its employees to the coronavirus and allegedly refused to provide employees with personal protective equipment, did not sanitize its facilities and threatened to terminate anyone who raised safety concerns.
Built Bar dismissed the merits of the complaint and told The Tribune in a statement Friday that the safety and health of its employees was the company’s top priority.
“The allegations of this lawsuit, however, are false. And we are eager to demonstrate our commitment to workplace health and safety in court," the statement said.
Built Bar argued it voluntarily closed to sanitize its entire facility while cases were increasing and put additional safety measures in place to confront the spread of the coronavirus “while simultaneously providing safe jobs and incomes to our employees during this difficult time," the statement said.
Flores’ daughter and roommate also tested positive for COVID-19, she said. Her attorney Juan Carlos Gutierrez declined to comment on the lawsuit Friday.
Flores is seeking compensation for a host of grievances, including legal fees, past and future medical expenses, depression, diminished earning capacity and lost wages.