A married man who died from a heart attack while having sex with a woman he met on a business trip in France was a ‘victim of a professional accident’, a French court ruled.
The ruling means that the man’s employer is financially responsible for the death. The company will have to pay huge compensations to the deceased dependents.
The man identified only as Xavier X, was an Engineer working in the Loiret département in central France on behalf of his employer, TSO, a French railway construction company. He was found dead in his hotel room in Meung-sur-Loire shortly after having sex with a local woman he met on a night in February 2013, according to the Times of London.
Lawyers for the Railway construction company insisted the man was not performing any duties for them when he had the heart attack. They blamed his “adulterous sex act with a complete stranger,” as the reason for his heart attack which eventually caused his death. The company also argued that the man was not in his hotel room provided by the company during the encounter.
But French appeals court judges ruled that an employee on assignment “is entitled to their employer’s protection for the duration of their mission … whether or not the accident takes place as part of a professional activity or as an act of normal life.” It means that an employee travelling for work remains the employer’s responsibility, no matter what the employee does on and off work hours, according to Dailymail.
The appeals court upheld the 2016 lower court ruling in the case that stated that, “A sexual encounter is an act of normal life like taking a shower or eating a meal,” according to the Times.
That means the February 2013 death of Xavier X, whose last name was not released, is officially classified in France as an ‘accident du travail’, which entitles his family to benefits from both the state and his employer. Hence, any partners and children of Xavier will receive a monthly benefit of up to 80 per cent of his salary until what would have been his retirement age and then a share of his pension.
The ruling stretches over a decade when French courts declared that any accident suffered by an employee on business trip away from company headquarters amounts to an ‘accident du travail’, unless the company can prove that the employee intentionally broke from their ‘mission’ for personal reasons.
Xavier’s employer fought hard at all stages to overturn the decision but lost at all levels, according to the report.
Xavier’s case is not the first time the ruling has been challenged.
In 2017, a French court was found liable for a travelling businessman who injured his hand at a disco in China, Daily mail reported. The court ruled that it did not matter if it was 2am and the man was off duty.