Japanese Court Rules Dead Toyota Worker Logged 106+ OT Hours

November 30, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - A Japanese judge has reversed an earlier decision not to pay the widow of a Toyota Motor Corporation worker, saying the man logged more than 106 overtime hours in a month before he died.

Reuters cited a report from Japanese news Web siteYomiuri Onlinethat theNagoya District Court in central Japan said the ruling overturned a decision from the Toyota Labor Standards Inspection office, a local branch of Japan’s labor ministry.That earlier ruling denied paying the widow the usual compensation for a spouse’s work-related death after determining the man had only worked 45 extra hours, Japanese media reported.

According to Reuters, the employee died of irregular heartbeat in February 2002 after passing out around 4 a.m. while working at a Toyota factory in central Japan.

“(The employee) worked for extremely long hours and the relationship between his work and death is strong,” Yomiuri Online quoted Judge Toshiro Tamiya as saying.

Overworking is a serious issue in Japan, where an average worker uses less than 50% of paid holidays, according to government data, Reuters said.In fiscal year 2005-2006, the labor ministry received 315 requests for compensation from the bereaved families of workers who died of strokes and other illnesses seen as work related.