Oliviero Biancato, who died on Friday aged 53, lost his job at an electrical components company in May after exceeding his 274 sick-day entitlement, within three years, for chemotherapy to treat stomach cancer, ArticoloTre reported.
Biancato, known as the “hero of San Giuliano” after saving a woman from suicide in July 2012, had been suffering from the disease for the second time, and needed the time off work to endure five courses of chemotherapy.
At the time losing his job at MA.FRA, a company located in the Venice district of Mestre, Biancato told the local news site, La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre, that the dismissal was “a bolt out of the blue”.
“I was always told not to worry and that I should just focus on getting better,” he said.
“I had a meeting with the company, with the hope of returning to work as soon as possible. At first they told me about a possible €35 cut in salary, for economic reasons, then the conversation changed and I found myself holding a letter of dismissal.”
Though he tried to appeal the decision, nothing could be done. “They operated according to a law for metalworkers, which says that after 274 sick days, you can be dismissed,” he said.
Biancato leaves a wife and 24-year-old son.
A spokesperson from MA.FRA was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Local.