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Long Beach : Harassment Death Dropped

March 19, 1987

An investigation by the state Employment Development Department has found no evidence to support union charges that an employee's death in January resulted from harassment by his supervisors at the Long Beach office.

Edward Choice, 37, collapsed Jan. 26 after a 90-minute meeting with supervisors and died of a heart attack the next day. Representatives of the California State Employees Assn. later charged that the death resulted from stressful working conditions which they said are common in department offices throughout the state.

The case attracted attention because it was reminiscent of an incident 10 months earlier in which a disgruntled employee of the department's Garden Grove office shot the office manager to death in front of a dozen witnesses.

But department spokesman Suzanne Schroeder said a monthlong investigation by the department--which included interviews with 30 employees--indicated that Choice's death was due to his poor health rather than harassment, management deficiencies or stressful working conditions.

"The department was saddened by the death of Eddie Choice," said Schroeder, reading from a statement. "He was a conscientious employee who was well-liked by all who knew and worked with him."

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