Lawsuit Alleges Hardee's Exposed Thousands of Customers to Hepatitis

In Depth

If we were handicapping which fast food restaurant was going to be responsible for something like this, KFC would have to have been even money.

Instead, the culprit is two South Carolina Hardee’s locations in Spartanburg County. Via Fox Carolina, a class action lawsuit naming Cody Werkmeister* as the primary plaintiff alleges that two employees infected with Hepatitis A prepared food and served potentially thousands of customers at the Lyman, SC location between August 31 and September 15 and the Duncan, SC location between September 1 and September 13. The lawsuit comes after the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control last Friday announced the risk for contagion at those locations and during those time frames. Werkmeister apparently did receive the Hepatitis A vaccine before filing the lawsuit, and does not appear to have shown any symptoms. In fact, the DHEC reports that they do not know of any confirmed cases of infection other than the two employees themselves.

Though we don’t know the details, safe money is on this not actually being the fault of the employees. The restaurant industry in general has a bad, bad habit of forcing its employees to work while sick, and the fast food industry in particular is notoriously capricious. The employees may have assumed they had some sort of flu, as many of the symptoms of Hepatitis A can seem similar if you don’t know what to look for—and calling out sick could’ve potentially gotten them fired. It was the company’s responsibily to send the employees home if they showed symptoms of illness. In a just nation, fast food employees (and employees in every industry) would have paid sick leave for instances like this, but we don’t live in a just nation (although Chipotle appears to be making strides). Also, this motherfucker is the CEO of Hardee’s parent company CKE Restaurants, so it’s probably safe to assume the company itself thinks of its employees as about as disposable as napkins.

Speaking of which, fuck him, and fuck Hardee’s. I hope no one actually gets sick and the lawsuit still puts a big dent in CKE.

* It’s OK to snicker. I am snickering, and my name is spelled “pink ham.” Admit it: there is snickering happening. Let it out.

Image via Ken Wolter/Shutterstock. Photoshop by Kinja user Beefstrike.

Contact the author at [email protected].

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