Coronavirus: family of deceased employee takes Colruyt to court

Coronavirus: family of deceased employee takes Colruyt to court
Illustration picture shows Colryut costumers lining up to enter a store. © Belga

The family of Mohammed Nahi, the 32-year-old Colruyt employee who died from the consequences of the coronavirus, is filing a formal complaint against the company with the correctional court.

Nahi worked in a Colruyt store in the Brussels’ commune of Forest and died in early April, seven days after testing positive for Covid-19. The family blames Colruyt for negligence in protecting its staff. 

“My brother-in-law strictly followed all measures, but his boss did not allow him to wear a face mask or gloves during his work,” Hatim Doghmi, the man’s brother-in-law, told Bruzz. “Several colleagues can confirm that. He certainly caught the virus at work,” he added.

The family acknowledges that there is no conclusive evidence for the theory that Nahi caught the virus at work, but the point is that he strictly respected all measures, according to them.

“At the time of his infection, 53% of staff at the Colruyt branch where he worked was sick at home with corona (sic). Then the court must decide who is responsible,” Doghmi said.

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However, this is not true, according to Colruyt Group. “More than half of the employees of the same store at home with a Covid-19 infection: we emphasise that this is absolutely untrue,” spokesperson Hanne Poppe told Het Nieuwsblad.

The family wants compensation from the company. “His wife is now left alone with two young children and will have to put her career aside in the coming months to get used to the situation,” Doghmi said.

“I find it unbelievable that Colruyt pretends that this is not due to the working conditions,” he added.

“Since this is an ongoing legal case, Colruyt Group wishes to refrain from giving details out of respect for the victim, his family and all his colleagues. This requires the necessary serenity for us,” Poppe said.

From the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the supermarket chain has always strictly followed the government’s recommendations, according to Poppe. “There has never been a ban in our stores on our employees wearing a face mask,” she added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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