Family seeking answers after patriarch falls ill from COVID-19

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A man is in the hospital because of coronavirus complications. His wife says the man’s employer is blocking them from getting the benefits they need.

Lorena Calderon says her husband, Jaime Calderon, was working at Cut Fresh -- located at 300 E. National Avenue -- when he contracted the virus. Now she says his company won’t pay his workers compensation because he supposedly stopped showing up for work, but she says it’s because he’s been in a coma for eight days.

Calderon worked at Cut Fresh in Milwaukee for the last four years, which is owned by the same company as V. Marchese.

His family says he was let go even though they notified the company he was in the hospital with coronavirus.

“They kind of just blew it out of proportion, and said that he just didn’t show up to work,” said Ariana.

The family says all they want is a paystub so they can access his benefits.

They say they’ve tried calling multiple times, and have even visited the company. So far no one has responded.

CBS 58 reached out to the company who said as far as they know, they don’t have employees with the virus-but they would take action immediately if that changed.

“The company takes workplace safety seriously. As with any other illness or injury on the job, we review the concerns and then get our worker’s compensation insurance carrier involved. If an employee believes that he or she became ill as a result of working here, we will take action immediately to address the employee’s concerns.”

We spoke to a local labor attorney who said the company might not have responded yet to the family in order to protect themselves and their employee.

"They want to do the right thing, but the company also has to have a comfort level to make sure that they are doing the right thing that the employee would want,” said Nola Hitchcock Cross from Cross Law Firm.

Hitchcock Cross says it’s helpful to speak to an attorney to file a power of attorney for family members to prevent situations like this.

As for Jaime, his condition is slowly progressing.

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