Honey, I’m Working Late

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Q: Last summer, my husband was employed as a helper on a project to replace the roof of a five-story apartment building in the City.  One day, at 5:30 p.m., he called.  “Honey, I’m gonna work overtime.”  At seven o’clock, my husband fell to his death from the roof.

The tenants did not want to be disturbed when they returned home in the evening.  The contract with the owner limited working hours to be between eight and five.  In the past, all work and clean-up had always been completed by five.  Never had my husband received overtime before. 

A coworker says that everyone finished working at 4:30 on the day of the accident, and that no one worked overtime that day.  Within minutes after receiving a report of my husband’s fall, a police lieutenant responded to the accident scene.  He says that everything was covered by protective tarps and that the construction site was closed up for the workday.

Both the lieutenant and the owner’s managing agent saw beer bottles and cans on the roof.  According to the autopsy report, Daddy’s blood alcohol content was .20%.  If only Priscilla had fallen with him.

A: In a suit under the Labor Law, the hearsay evidence of the phone call will not suffice to prove that your husband was actually engaged in a protected activity.  As for a suit alleging common-law negligence, the owner is well-positioned to argue convincingly that your husband’s intoxication was the sole proximate cause of his fall.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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