How wide is an employer’s duty to an employee? Very, if you are subject to French law. The employee, named as Xavier X, worked for TSO. He met a complete stranger during a night out, had sex with her, then died of a heart attack.

The state health insurance provider found the death to be a workplace accident. The provider defended its position by insisting that sexual activity was normal ‘like taking a shower or a meal’. 

TSO challenged the decision. A finding of a workplace accident would mean that TSO would have to pay compensation to the surviving family.

A Paris appeals court upheld the decision of the insurance provider. Under French law, an employer is responsible for any accident occurring during a business trip. Regardless of the circumstances, an employee on a business trip is entitled to social protection “over the whole time of his mission”, held the French Court.

Would this decision have been made in Britain? No. But employer’s duties have been extended in recent years. 

In 2016, the Supreme Court found Morrison Supermarkets to be liable for the unforeseen, and unprovoked attack, on a customer. 

In 2018, in a second case again involving Morrison Supermarkets, the Court of Appeal upheld the decision that the employer was liable for the deliberate disclosure of worker’s personal details onto the internet.

If you require assistance with defending a claim brought by an employee, or would like to bring a claim, then please contact the Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Employment team.

TSP Solicitor Sam Welham specialises in both Employment and Personal Injury cases. He has a particular interest in workplace accidents and occupational stress and his knowledge of both areas means that he is well-placed to provide sound and pragmatic advice in this area to both employers and individual employees. Sam can be contacted on 01206 217028 or by email at