What happens to your employer if you die at work? Not much.


On Thanksgiving in 2008, shoppers began to line up outside a Walmart store in Long Island, N.Y. at around 5:30 p.m., in anticipation of the store’s Black Friday Blitz Day 5 a.m. opening. By 3 a.m., a crowd of 2,000 had amassed, and when the store finally opened at 5 a.m., customers bulldozed a vestibule and knocked the doors off their hinges as they raced to grab discounted TVs.

A 34-year-old Wal-Mart worker, Jdimytai Damour, got caught in the stampede. His fellow employees tried to protect him from the stampede, but Damour was trampled and died of asphyxiation.

For the incident, Wal-Mart was fined $7,000. The penalty is notable, not only because Wal-Mart spent six years appealing it, but also because the small sum is completely standard.

The ugly truth is that when it comes to ensuring your safety on the job, your employer has very little…

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