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Nationwide Kroger protest held for employee who died by suicide after alleged abuse at work

Evan Seyfried protest justice for evan
Posted at 10:57 AM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 13:37:59-05

On the one-year anniversary of the day 40-year-old Evan Seyfried died by suicide after allegedly enduring abuse at the Kroger location in which he worked, protesters plan to gather nationwide to demand the company take responsibility for his death.

In Cincinnati, protesters gathered on the steps of the Hamilton County Courthouse at noon to demand the Kroger Company take responsibility for Seyfried's death.

Protests are planned throughout the country, with people planning to gather in several cities including Pittsburgh, Nashville, Washington D.C. and Sacramento, CA, according to a press release from protest organizers, a group called Justice for Evan.

In July, 2021, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Seyfried's family that alleges the manager of the Kroger location in Milford where Seyfried worked created "disturbing, dangerous, and deranged conditions."

The suit goes on to accuse a manager at the grocery chain's Milford, Ohio, location of instigating "a campaign (in October 2020) dedicated to ousting Evan while proclaiming her intention to make Evan's life a 'living hell.'"

"I don't know who exactly it was, but they had given his number out to his co-workers and he was receiving threatening text messages and then, toward the end, they started sending him child pornography to frame him for child pornography," said Amy Chamberlin, Seyfried's girlfriend, at Wednesday's protest. "I think that was a lot of what triggered his spiral, because he thought he was going to end up in jail for something he didn't do."

Chamberlin and Seyfreid worker together at the Milford Kroger location. She said managers who didn't like Seyfried bullied him relentlessly for six months.

The lawsuit claims the manager's feud with Evan Seyfried stemmed, in part, from concerns he had raised concerning COVID-19, which led to "hazing, taunting and bullying" and attempts to sabotage his work.

As part of the alleged bullying, Seyfried's boss "mocked and humiliated" him for wearing a mask — in line with the company's pandemic policies — as well as for his political beliefs, the suit states.

Wednesday's protest organizers said in a press release that Kroger ignored Seyfried's attempts to report the behavior of his co-workers, nor did they investigate Seyfried's claims of a hostile work environment.

"When he reported it to Kroger and they did nothing," said Jana Murphy, a friend of the Seyfried family. "That's organizational mobbing, when the union does nothing. When Kroger officials did nothing. And managers continue to get away with bullying him. He was mobbed by the entire organization of Kroger."

In October, Kroger filed to have the lawsuit dismissed, claiming the company had no knowledge of any mental health issues Seyfried was having, nor could they have forseen his death by suicide.

Kroger issued a statement on Wednesday:

"The Kroger family is saddened by the loss of our associate, Evan Seyfried, and extend our condolences to his family and friends. Because this is a matter of active litigation, we are not able to comment further," the statement read.