French company liable over employee’s death during sex on business trip

A French company has been found liable for the death of an employee who had a cardiac arrest while having sex with a stranger on a business trip.

The employee, identified as Xavier X, was working as an engineer for TSO, a railway services company based near Paris before his death.

He died at a hotel during a trip to central France in 2013, as a result of what the employer called “an extramarital relationship with a perfect stranger”.

A Paris court ruled that his death was an industrial accident and that the family was entitled to compensation.

The firm had argued the man was not carrying out professional duties when he joined a guest in her hotel room.

But under French law an employer is responsible for any accident occurring during a business trip, judges said.

The company challenged a decision by the state health insurance provider to regard the death as a workplace accident. The provider however defended its position by insisting that sexual activity was normal, “like taking a shower or a meal”.

In its ruling, the Paris appeals court upheld that an employee on a business trip is entitled to social protection “over the whole time of his mission” and regardless of the circumstances.

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