No compensation for the family of a Guatemalan worker who died under a vehicle

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No compensation for the family of a Guatemalan worker who died under a vehicle

The administrative judge determined that the worker was using his employer's car outside working hours.

The family of a Guatemalan farm worker who was crushed to death trying to replacing a flat tire on her employer's car, says she is disappointed that the Administrative Labor Tribunal of Quebec has refused her compensation.

María Teresa Lares Macario says she has not recovered from the sudden death of her father, Ottoniel Lares Batzibal, who died on July 18, 2021, trapped under a car in the garage of Cultures Fortin, a farm in fruits and vegetables in Saint-Patrice-de-Beaurivage, in the Chaudière-Appalaches region.

The 22-year-old admits that it's hard to ;get out. She misses her father more and more every day; she says he was a humble, hardworking man who loved his family.

Administrative Judge Valérie Lizotte determined that Mr. Lares Batzibal was using his employer's car outside of working hours and that his benevolent intention to fix a flat tire was unrelated to his official duties.

< p class="e-p">After analysis, the Court comes to the conclusion that the death of the worker did not occur during his work. As a result, the estate cannot receive death benefits under the Act, Justice Lizotte wrote in the February 7 decision.

Michel Pilon, who heads an organization that defends foreign workers and who served as the family's representative, argued in court that Mr. Lares Batzibal's death was work-related, as he often acted as a designated driver for other farm workers.

But the company maintained that fixing a flat tire was a personal decision and in outside the professional responsibilities of Mr. Lares Batzibal.

Les Cultures Fortin inc. was not immediately available to comment on the case.

Ms Lares Macario says the decision is unfair as her father worked for this farm for 12 seasons and that he was the breadwinner of the family.

According to Mr. Pilon, if the Administrative Labor Tribunal had ruled in favor of the family, they would have been entitled to $100,000.

Mrs. Lares Macario and her 41-year-old mother, Norma Macario Tucubal, try to make a living from selling embroidered textiles in their village on the outskirts of Guatemala City .

The family received a life insurance benefit of $50,000, but Mrs. Lares Macario explains that most of this amount was used to pay for the medical care of his younger sister, Rumalda Maricela Lares Macario, who fell ill after the death of her father and died on July 15, 2022, aged 20.

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