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Frenchman who died during sex on a business trip was victim of ‘workplace accident’, court rules

A French court has ruled that an employee who died while having sex on a business trip was the victim of a workplace accident.

Frenchman who died during sex on a business trip was victim of 'workplace accident', court rules
The employee died in a hotel room while having sex with a 'complete stranger'. Photo: AFP

The safety technician had been sent to Loiret in north west France on a business trip and while there ended up having sex with a “complete stranger”.

During the act he had a heart attack and died, and his employer – the construction specialists TSO – argued that because the liaison was not part of his work, and because he died in a different hotel room to the one which had been reserved for him, it should not be held liable for his death, reported BFMTV.

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The case is now likely to be referred to the Cour de Cassation, France's highest court. Photo: AFP

The company told a previous court hearing in Meaux, to the east of Paris, that the death had “occurred when he had knowingly interrupted his work for a reason solely dictated by his personal interest, independent of his employment”, and that as a result he was no longer on a business trip. 

Moreover, the death is not attributable to the performance of his work “but to the sexual act he had with a complete stranger”. 

However the case has now been heard by the Court of Appeal in Paris, which ruled against the company, saying that the employee did indeed die of a workplace accident (accident du travail).

The Paris Court of Appeal argues that “an employee performing a business trip is entitled to the protection provided by Article L 411-1 of the Social Security Code throughout the duration of the trip he performs for his employer”.
 
In other words it does not matter whether the accident occurs during a professional or everyday act unless the employer has proof that the employee interrupted his mission for a personal reason.
 
The judges point out that sexual intercourse is a part of everyday life.
 
The fact that the accident occurred in a place other than the hotel room reserved for him by TSO did not make it possible to consider that the employee had placed himself outside the sphere of the employer's authority.
 
The incident was therefore recognised as a workplace accident.
 
Because of the unusual nature of the ruling, and the potential liability for employers, the case is likely to be referred to the Cour de Cassation, France's highest judicial court, said Sarah Balluet, a lawyer specialising in labour law, in her LinkedIn article on the case.
 
 

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France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had ‘marital duty’ to have sex with husband

A case has been brought against France at the European Court of Human Rights by a woman who lost a divorce case after judges ruled against her because she refused to have sex with her husband.

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had 'marital duty' to have sex with husband
Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The woman, who has not been named, has brought the case with the backing of two French feminist groups, arguing that the French court ruling contravened human rights legislation by “interference in private life” and “violation of physical integrity”.

It comes after a ruling in the Appeals Court in Versailles which pronounced a fault divorce in 2019 because of her refusal to have sex with her husband.

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The court ruled that the facts of the case “established by the admission of the wife, constitute a serious and renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage making intolerable the maintenance of a shared life”.

Feminist groups Fondation des femmes (Women’s Foundation) and Collectif féministe contre le viol (Feminist Collective against Rape) have backed her appeal, deploring the fact that French justice “continues to impose the marital duty” and “thus denying the right of women to consent or not to sexual relations”.

“Marriage is not and should not be a sexual servitude,” the joint statement says, pointing out that in 47 percent of the 94,000 recorded rapes and attempted rapes per year, the aggressor is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.

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