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Workplace illness comes to Disneyland

Employees in California have a right to expect a safe work environment. This extends to the employees of Disneyland, also sometimes called the "happiest place on earth." It was a little less happy when three Disney workers were diagnosed with Legionnaire's disease. Two of the three were hospitalized after being diagnosed with what may have been a workplace illness.

It is believed that the outbreak was caused by faulty maintenance of the park's cooling towers. It is known that improper maintenance of water systems allows for the growth of the bacteria that causes the ailment. Cal/OSHA issued a citation to Disneyland stating that they failed to adequately maintain the water systems and did not take sufficient steps to correct a workplace hazard. The citation also stated that Disney did not promptly report the illnesses. They issued a $33,000 penalty against the company.

Disney is appealing the case based on what they state is a failure to scientifically prove that the water tower caused the illness. There was sufficient contamination in the area, according to a health care agency, to assert that the towers may have been the source of the contamination. There are no regulations currently in place that govern the testing or treatment of the towers.

If an employee in California suspects that an ailment may be the result of something in the workplace, he or she may wish to speak with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. A workplace illness is not an issue to be taken lightly. A knowledgeable lawyer may be able to review the circumstances of the illness and advise the client as to his or her rights under California law.

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