Angela Martinez GómezAge 42
6 Jul 2020
Santa Monica, California (USA)
Angela died from COVID-19 after being forced to continue working at a Burger King while ill. After her death other staff walked out, citing inadequate safety protocols.
Managers had refused to allow her to take time off sick and blamed "hormone injections" for her illness.
An employee of a local restaurant has died after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and coworkers have filed a complaint with state and county regulators over safety protocols at the location.
Employees at the Santa Monica Burger King, located on the 1900 block of Pico Blvd., say Angela Martinez Gómez died on July 6 and that managers let her come to work while she exhibited symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
“Several workers walked out for safety on July 6, after learning of Angela’s death,” said a complaint filed with CAL/OSHA and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “A worker shouldn’t have to die and workers shouldn’t have to strike to call attention to COVID-19 safety at Burger King.”
According to the complaint, Martinez worked sick for a full week before leaving her shift early on June 29. The complaint states she was coughing, nauseous and taking frequent bathroom breaks. It states she was self-medicating with cold medicine and that employees learned she had died on July 6.
The complaint said a second employee also worked during the same time while exhibiting chills and a high temperature.
Yolanda Garcia filed the complaint and said she is the third employee to develop symptoms.
“I feel very worried and I have a bad headache,” she wrote. “July 8 I woke up coughing with chills, shaking and body aches, my right lung hurts making it difficult to breathe, and I am very tired. I am worried about my health and my family’s health; eight of us live together, and my brother and I both have diabetes. Last week I visited my grandchildren, and now I do not know if I have COVID-19, or if I gave it to them. I am worried.”
Garcia said she told the manager about her concerns but was told Martinez’s death was a result of medical treatment, not COVID-19 as Gomez was transgender and taking hormones.
“I don’t know of anyone who has been notified as a close contact or quarantined” said Garcia. “I told (the manager) I was going to get tested for COVID-19, and she said she was going to get tested too, but she also said she didn’t think Angela died of COVID-19, she said Angela died of injecting hormones. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
In her complaint, Garcia alleges the restaurant has not provided fresh masks for each shift, does not implement physical distancing requirements in the kitchen, has not trained staff on safety protocols and doesn’t clean frequently enough.