As employment lawyers, we often find ourselves struggling to convince our clients that the laws with which we are required to comply are fair and reasonable. But if you think our laws are bad, spare a thought for your French counterparts!
A very unfortunate affair
A court in Paris recently considered a case involving the death of an engineer (Xavier) who worked for the French railway solutions company, TSO. The tricky question that arose was whether TSO was legally liable for Xavier’s death, which occurred during a business trip to Paris.
The precise circumstances surrounding his death are perhaps best left undocumented. However, what has been widely reported is that he suffered a cardiac arrest, having elicited a sexual encounter with someone whom he had only just met. This might normally be a matter that should not trouble the courts. However, under French law, where an employee dies in a work-related accident, the employer can find itself financially responsible for all related costs and expenses, as well as an increased pension for the survivor’s spouse or partner.
TSO argued that Xavier’s romantic encounter with a stranger was unrelated to his business trip, such that his death could not be said to be a work-related accident. The Parisian court disagreed, concluding that relations of this sort are an everyday activity “like having a shower or a meal”. We’ll leave you to consider whether you agree with this decision.
Want to read more?
If you would like to read more about this case, there are various articles to be found on the web, with information about the legal issues arising. Just be careful what you search for! #NSFW