In 2008, Black Friday turned deadly at one of Wall-Mart's Long Island locations. As crowds stormed the store's entrance in hopes of taking advantage of store wide sales, one Wall-Mart employee was trampled by the mass of shoppers and killed. Nearly two years later, Wall-Mart is still battling a 7,000 thousand dollar fine that was put upon the store following the accident.
Wall-Mart claims that 'crowd trampling' was not a forseeable occupational hazard. In fact, Wall-Mart has gone so far as to spend over a million dollars in legal fees in order to fight the fine. Wall-Mart worries that if the fine sticks, then the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be able to have increased oversight on the company during all future major sales events. But, I ask, why is this at all bad?
An employee died, so obviously Wall-Mart was doing something wrong. I fail to see how 'crowd trampling' is not reasonably forseeable. Anytime 2,000 super excited shoppers are lined up and ready to rush an entrance in search of bargain bottom deals, then logically some amount of danger presents itself. In this case, Wall-Mart failed to adequately protect its employees from seemingly obvious dangers.
Under labor laws, Wall-Mart is responsbile for providing its employees with a safe and hazard free work environment. Because Wall-Mart failed to meet this standard, they should be liable for paying the fine and they should be subject to increased oversight. At Goldstein and Bashner, we are dedicated to enforcing labor laws and protecting the rights and health of workers. Our attorneys have represented injured workers across the Long Island and New York areas for over 20 years. If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to recover compensation for any damages that you sustained. Please contact our offices for a free case evaluation.