A man who died from a heart attack after having sex with a woman he met on a business trip is a ‘victim of a professional accident’, a French court has ruled.
Xavier X, whose surname has not been released, was an engineer working in the Loiret département in central France on behalf of his employer, TSO, a French railway construction company.
He met a local woman on a night in February 2013, but was found dead in his hotel room in Meung-sur-Loire shortly after the pair had sex.
French labour authorities asserted that Xavier’s death should be classified as an ‘accident du travail’, which entitles the victim’s family to benefits from both the state and employer.
As a result, 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.
Thereafter, TSO will have to contribute towards Xavier’s pension.
In 2016, a lower court ruled that ‘a sexual encounter is an act of normal life like taking a shower or eating a meal,’ which was upheld by the appeal court in May.
Xavier’s employer argued against the decision but lost in every round.
The company argued that it could not be held accountable for the worker’s death, even though it happened while he was on an assignment, because his heart attack was unconnected to the job.
TSO added that the employee was not in the hotel room organised by the company during the liason and that the encounter was adulterous.
French judges brushed aside these arguments and claimed that an employee travelling for work remains the employer’s responsibility, regardless over what the employee does on and off work hours.
The ruling stretches back ten years when the courts declared that any accident suffered by employees on work trips away from their work headquarters amounts to an ‘accident du travail’.
Unless the employer can prove that the worker intentionally broke from their ‘mission’ for personal reasons, then the ruling would remain in place.
Nor is the case of Xavier X 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.
The court ruled that it did not matter if it was 2am and the man was off duty.