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Family employment lawsuit on behalf of deceased relative

The family of a 42-year-old immigrant who had settled in British Columbia is suing his employer for what they say is overwork that led to his death. The man worked at a chicken factory, and according to the family, he worked 60 to 70 hours per week. He died of a heart attack after working a 13-hour shift on March 22, 2013.

The family alleges that it is common practice for this factory to hire Chinese immigrants and then encourage them to work 70 hours per week. The company paid the man time and a half above his regular pay of minimum wage for the overtime. However, laws in British Columbia say that employers should not allow employees to work excessive hours if it results in a threat to the employee's health and safety. The man's family says that he had a heart condition and that his employers should not have allowed him to work that many hours.

According to reports, because the man did not speak any English, he had little choice but to work at the factory. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of his wife and his four children. The family's lawyer says they have suffered significant economic hardship due to his death and are now on welfare.

The financial loss one may suffer as the result of the death of a family member may result in economic instability and undue stress. However, if the loss of life was the result of another party's negligence, it may be possible for a family to pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. A person, organization or company may be found negligent if the evidence suggests that the defendant failed to offer a standard duty of care.

Source: CBC News, "Family of dead Vancouver poultry worker sues employers for negligence," Chad Pawson, March 25, 2015

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