In February 2013, at around 10 pm, while on a business trip a security technician died tragically of a heart attack at the home of his mistress with whom he had just had sex. His death was then ruled to be a work-related accident.
The company protested and took the case to court. They believed that the man's heart attack had nothing to do with his work nor his travel, but rather with ‘a sexual act.’
Professional or personal?
The company lost the case. This ruling held up the initial decision which considered that a sexual actis ‘an act of everyday life.’ Lawyer Sarah Balluet explained as follows:
An employee performing an assignment is entitled to the protection provided for in Article L 411-1 of the Social Security Code, regardless of whether the accident occurs during a professional or everyday act, with the exception of the possibility for the employer to provide proof that the employee had interrupted his assignment for a personal reason.
However, the employer could not provide the security technician's precise schedule. It was impossible for the company to prove that the technician had interrupted his assignment to take a trip to see his mistress... For the courts, the heart attack could therefore be qualified as an occupational accident.
The company did not stop there, however. It then brought the matter before a high court of appeal. In its ruling dating from May 2019, the latter also agreed with the initial ruling. ‘It is common ground that sexual intercourse is an act of everyday life,’ the court wrote, and the security technician's fatal heart attack did not occur at a time when he ‘was subject to specific professional obligations.’