Ericsson workload killed Italian man: high court

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10:25 CEST+02:00
Italy’s highest court has ordered the Swedish telecoms giant, Ericsson, to pay €859,000 in compensation to an Italian family after one of its employees died of a heart attack due to work-related stress.

In the final ruling of an appeal process, the Supreme Court in Rome laid responsibility for the man’s death on the company because of the stress his “excessive workload” put him under, Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

The court heard that the father-of-one, named only as Stefano S, worked 11-hour days and often took his work home with him.

He died of a heart attack while at the office, which the court said was “due to the excessive tasks the company relied on him to do each day, without considering the impact this would have on his health and living conditions”.

Ericsson said in a statement sent to The Local Sweden that Stefano died in 1997.

The company fought against the decision of an appeals court in 2011 to compensate the family, arguing that Stefano’s death was due to him being “overzealous”.

The verdict, however, was upheld by the Supreme Court, which has told the firm to pay €434,000 to the man’s wife and €425,000 to his daughter, who was a minor at the time of her father’s death.

"Ericsson has appealed to all possible legal instances to demonstrate that the unfortunate death of our colleague in 1997 was not our responsibility," the company added.

"However, we acknowledge and abide by the sentence of the Supreme Court. This is a legal procedure and thus we won't comment further on the details of the process or the ruling."

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The court said a company must be aware of the work conditions faced by its employees.

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