A MARRIED man who died of a heart attack after having sex with a ‘complete stranger’ he met on a business trip was the victim of a ‘workplace accident’, a French court has ruled.
Mr Xavier — as he was referred to in court — had been posted to the Loiret département in central France by his bosses at railway construction company TSO when he met a local woman on a night out.
The health and safety officer, whose surname was not given, went back to the woman’s house and they had sex.
At about 10pm on February 22, 2013, he was found unconscious at her home, with police concluding he had suffered a cardiac arrest.
The appeal court in Paris has now backed a ruling made at the time that the death was an ‘accident du travail’, entitling Mr Xavier’s family to benefits from both his employers and the state.
Under French law, partners or children of workplace accident victims receive up to 80 per cent of their salary until what would have been the person’s retirement age, with pension contributions paid from then on.
TSO first challenged the accident ruling in November 2013 but has lost at every stage of the appeals process.
It argued Mr Xavier’s death occurred when he ‘knowingly interrupted his work in his own personal interest’ — adding that the death couldn’t be classified as an industrial accident because it had nothing to do with his job.
The company also denied liability because he hadn’t died in the hotel room they had booked for him.
But Claire Chaux, the appeals court president, concluded the scene of his death was irrelevant and Mr Xavier had not ‘placed himself outside the sphere of authority’ of his employer.
TSO was told that an employee travelling for work remains the employer’s responsibility, regardless of how they spend their time. A law passed a decade ago says any death on a work trip is an accident du travail.