A French court has ruled that a man who suffered a fatal heart attack after having sex on a business trip was involved in a work-related accident – and that his employer was liable.
The man – identified in court documents as Xavier – travelled to France’s Loiret region in 2013 on a business trip for rail engineering company TSO, according to a New York Times report. One night after work, Xavier had sex with a woman at her house, returned to his hotel, and promptly died from cardiac arrest. The heart attack was reportedly linked to the amorous encounter.
A health-insurance fund ruled that the death resulted from a work-related accident, the Times reported. TSO, however, appealed, saying that Xavier had interrupted his business trip to pursue an adulterous relationship – something outside the company’s purview.
Unfortunately for TSO, French law considers any accident that occurs during a business trip to be work-related, even if the activity in question isn’t directly related to the employee’s job. The Court of Appeal in Paris ruled that the law protected employees engaged in everyday activities for the entirety of the trip, unless those activities interrupted business, according to the Times. The insurance fund told the court that sex was an everyday activity, “like having a shower or a meal.” Xavier, the fund said, was therefore covered.
When TSO could not provide a schedule proving that Xavier’s romantic life was interrupting his work, the court upheld the funds’ claim.
The ruling could prove very expensive for TSO. According to the French national health insurance fund, the partner of a person who dies in a work-related accident is eligible for a pension of up to 40% of the deceased worker’s annual income. Insurance also pays for a share of the funeral costs, and the partner can be eligible for a one-time payout of around $3,800, the Times reported.