What can the $20 million Lowe’s Lawsuit Teach Other Businesses
A lawsuit was filed recently against Lowes seeking $20 million USD in damages. This case shows how easily even a high-level corporation can run into trouble in these difficult times.
So, what happened?
At a Lowe’s store in California, a customer encountered a man on the same aisle but not wearing a face mask. Out of concern for his health and the health of others, the customer asked the man to put on a mask. Since the customer had underlying health conditions, it is understandable that he was taking the executive order seriously and wanting others to do so as well.
According to the lawsuit, the customer asked the man multiple times to wear a mask. When those requests failed, the customer went to a Lowe’s employee and asked him to do address the unmasked man. The Lowe’s employee did nothing. Upon the Lowe’s employee’s failure to intervene, as the customer was calling the police, the maskless man spat in the customer’s face four times in rapid succession. As such, the customer is now suing Lowe’s for not properly protecting its customers by allowing a maskless man into its store.
What can you as a company do to protect yourself from liability in lawsuits?
The lawsuit demonstrates that whatever steps Lowe’s had taken previously regarding in-store safety and mask-wearing, those procedures appear to have broken down to the point that the lawsuit states that, effectively, Lowe’s had NO policy. If Lowe’s had such policies and protocols in place, a relevant question is whether the employee followed such policies and protocols.
The takeaway is that businesses must have rules and procedures in place for a myriad of difficult situations in these trying and stressful times. Specific to mask-wearing, it is critical to have a coherent policy in place. Once you have those procedures in place, you must clearly communicate them to every employee and train for and practice them. Doing this is an excellent way to limit conflicts and the potential for future liability.
With COVID-19 still very prevalent, the last thing that any business needs a lawsuit. Be sure to have rules and procedures in place for COVID-19, as well as any other situation that could possibly result in a lawsuit.
An unmasked man went into Lowe’s and spat on a customer attempting to protect himself and others. The customer alleges that Lowe’s failed to have proper protocols in place to stop unmasked individuals from entering the store and then to protect other customers upon entering the store. It is critical for businesses to document the policies and procedurals put into place, and also critical to ensure that employees are equipped to implement and execute on such policies and procedures. If you have any further questions, contact BridgehouseLaw.
This article was inspired by a Morning Musings video. To watch it, click here.
To read another article on this situation click here.
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