South Korea’s Supreme Court on Tuesday sent back a case seeking industrial claims for Samsung Electronics’ clean room casualty to a lower court, delivering another win for former employees of the country’s top chipmaker who have become ill or died from multiple sclerosis-kind diseases.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court disagreed with the ruling of the lower court that did not recognize the connection in the work and casualty in a case raised by the family of the late former Samsung Electronics worker Lee Yun-jeong.
Lee started working at Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor assembly and test plant in Onyang in May, 1997, when she was a high school senior. The late worker left the workplace in July, 2003, and was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, in May, 2010. Lee applied for workers’ compensation from the government but was rejected based on the ground that there is no causal link between the disease and the work she carried out at the factory, and filed a suit in April, 2011. Lee died in the following year without seeing the result of the lawsuit and her family took over the case.
In the first trial, the court ruled in favor of Lee, saying that there is a considerable causal link between the disease and work. In the second trial, however, the Seoul High Court turned down the verdict, saying that the case cannot be recognized as a work accident based on the fact that she was diagnosed with brain tumor 7 years after leaving work.
The latest ruling by the Supreme Court, meanwhile, that seemingly recognizes the disease as an industrial accident is raising the prospect that the scope of applying for industrial accidents at work places highly exposed to harmful chemical substances will broaden.
An unnamed court official said that the latest ruling is an example that shows previous standard of recognizing an industrial disaster based on strict causal link has been alleviated.
By Song Gwang-sup and Lee Eun-joo
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