The outcome of a Nebraska lawsuit may be the beginning of a legal trend that could have a serious financial impact on service businesses that regularly send their employees into clients’ homes. A Nebraska small claims court has awarded a healthcare aide exposed to bed bugs while on the job a partial judgment against her employer, a home healthcare provider.
Jamie Leinart told WOWT News she was exposed to bed bugs while caring for an elderly patient in the patient’s home. Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and some of the tiny insects apparently went home with her hidden in her supplies or clothing. Leinart’s home became infested with bed bugs and she suffered numerous bed bug bites.
The aide sued her former employer for $3,000 which included medical bills and $1,200 to have her home exterminated. She claimed her employer was aware that bed bugs might be present at the client’s home but did not warn her, a claim Encompass Senior Solutions denied. While the judge noted that health risks go with the job, he awarded Leinart lost wages and half of her exterminator costs for a total of $1,200.
Bottom line: Bed bugs could be a new legal liability for businesses whose employees make house calls. Service businesses may want to invest in bed bug monitors or a portable ZapBugg bed bug-killing heat chamber to help protect employees from bed bugs and themselves from lawsuits!