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Thread: French company liable after employee dies during extra-marital sex with stranger on business trip

  1. Top | #11
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Terrible precedent, not just for companies but for workers. Basically, it means that companies will have to force all employees to stay hold up in their hotel rooms and never do anything outside their specific duties during any business trip.
    This is France. Unlike in the USA, French companies do not own their employees, and have no say of any kind about what they do when not actively and explicitly working. Any employer in France who even hinted at telling employees how to behave when off the clock - even when on a business trip - would be in serious trouble before you could say "industrial action".

    Americans are often surprised to learn just how much freedom other people have. And one of those freedoms is the freedom from interaction with employers or co-workers outside strictly delineated working hours. The idea that your employer could make demands on your time beyond the standard hours in your contract is as bizarre and unreasonable as the idea that he might mention religion, or allow it to be discussed in the workplace.
    But saying that the employer cannot tell an employee what to do outside working hours would imply that the worker is free to do what he or she wants in those situations. And if they are free, it seems contrary to then hold the employer responsible.

  2. Top | #12
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post

    Americans are so cute when they talk about freedom as though they actually understand it.

    You can't be free unless you are bound by my set of legal principles!

    The false dichotomy that requires control to be either absolute or non-existent is a problem for your attempt at reasoning; But it isn't a feature of reality, so reality isn't bound by it. Not everyone shares your fundamental principles - and their right to disregard them is a necessary condition of freedom.

    Americans really love authoritarian rules. And talking about how free they are. It's a total mystery.
    Your inability to grasp basic logic combined with intellectual dishonesty is what allows you to deny the objective fact that liability logically presumes the ability to control, and that freedom of any person is logically dependent on the degree to which any other person is responsible for that person's actions.

    Your position is directly anti-thetical to freedom. You think that people should be imprisoned if other people who they are not allowed to influence do something of their own will that has negative consequences. The fact that you only apply this fascism to people who qualify as an "employer" just speaks to the total lack of principles you have and your notion of "freedom" is doing whatever you want to harm people you view as economic adversaries.
    That you actually believe the bullshit that companies and corporations are people, and entitled to the same moral consideration as real human individuals is terribly sad.

    There is such a thing as an organization. It isn't a person; Nor is it a mere assemblage of several persons. It isn't entitled to freedom, or to anything else. And it is perfectly reasonable to impose upon it liabilities without control or influence, because no person is required to join it if they do not like the imposition.

    And oddly, whenever this is pointed out to an American, they respond by talking about how their interlocutor thinks people should be imprisoned for, well, something. Despite the notion of imprisonment not having previously arisen in the discussion.

    I think that companies can reasonably be held liable for circumstances that arise due to their actions, even where a person has equal or greater control over the circumstances than does the company in question. And if people don't like that rule, they are free not to expose themselves to liabilities incurred by the company. Nobody is required to form a company or corporation. Nobody is forced to buy shares. Nobody is compelled to accept a seat on a board. And those who do these things should do so with a clear understanding of the rules that will apply to them if they do. If they don't feel that those rules are fair, then they have the free choice not to play the game.

    I don't lack principles. But it is VERY telling that you cannot consider the possibility that I might have principles that do not match your own. It's like debating a religious loon - they too cannot grasp that having different principles is not synonymous with having none at all.

    But what would I know - I don't agree with you, so therefore I must be intellectually dishonest. Because it's impossible that someone might have thought things through and reached a different conclusion to that of a smug git who can't even imagine a society that is less authoritarian than his own.

  3. Top | #13
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post
    Terrible precedent, not just for companies but for workers. Basically, it means that companies will have to force all employees to stay hold up in their hotel rooms and never do anything outside their specific duties during any business trip.
    This is France. Unlike in the USA, French companies do not own their employees, and have no say of any kind about what they do when not actively and explicitly working. Any employer in France who even hinted at telling employees how to behave when off the clock - even when on a business trip - would be in serious trouble before you could say "industrial action".

    Americans are often surprised to learn just how much freedom other people have. And one of those freedoms is the freedom from interaction with employers or co-workers outside strictly delineated working hours. The idea that your employer could make demands on your time beyond the standard hours in your contract is as bizarre and unreasonable as the idea that he might mention religion, or allow it to be discussed in the workplace.
    But saying that the employer cannot tell an employee what to do outside working hours would imply that the worker is free to do what he or she wants in those situations. And if they are free, it seems contrary to then hold the employer responsible.
    Only if these things are absolute states. But they are not. The employee can do what he or she wants - conversant with being constrained by the employer's requirement that they take that business trip.

    The employee is not completely free; So the employer is not completely free of liability. The rest is just the usual legal wrangling over the grey areas.

    Pretending that no grey area exists, and that the employee is completely free while 'off the clock' and therefore the employer has zero liability for any misfortune he encounters, is one of many equally reasonable ways to resolve the uncertainty - but it's not the only way, nor necessarily the best way. American employment law tends to give all rights to the employer and none to the employee in such situations. Which is one way to resolve things, but it's not the best way, the only way, or the way handed down from the gods on tablets of stone.

    And it's sure as shit not the solution demanded by the principles of personal liberty.

  4. Top | #14
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post

    But saying that the employer cannot tell an employee what to do outside working hours would imply that the worker is free to do what he or she wants in those situations. And if they are free, it seems contrary to then hold the employer responsible.
    Only if these things are absolute states. But they are not. The employee can do what he or she wants - conversant with being constrained by the employer's requirement that they take that business trip.

    The employee is not completely free; So the employer is not completely free of liability. The rest is just the usual legal wrangling over the grey areas.

    Pretending that no grey area exists, and that the employee is completely free while 'off the clock' and therefore the employer has zero liability for any misfortune he encounters, is one of many equally reasonable ways to resolve the uncertainty - but it's not the only way, nor necessarily the best way. American employment law tends to give all rights to the employer and none to the employee in such situations. Which is one way to resolve things, but it's not the best way, the only way, or the way handed down from the gods on tablets of stone.

    And it's sure as shit not the solution demanded by the principles of personal liberty.
    I have to say it makes no sense to me in this particular case. The employer sending him on a business trip arguably had nothing, in terms of responsibility, to do with his decision to engage in what was risky behaviour on his own behalf outside working hours. What, for example, if the guy had died during a dodgy asphyxiation sex game?

  5. Top | #15
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post

    But saying that the employer cannot tell an employee what to do outside working hours would imply that the worker is free to do what he or she wants in those situations. And if they are free, it seems contrary to then hold the employer responsible.
    Only if these things are absolute states. But they are not. The employee can do what he or she wants - conversant with being constrained by the employer's requirement that they take that business trip.

    The employee is not completely free; So the employer is not completely free of liability. The rest is just the usual legal wrangling over the grey areas.

    Pretending that no grey area exists, and that the employee is completely free while 'off the clock' and therefore the employer has zero liability for any misfortune he encounters, is one of many equally reasonable ways to resolve the uncertainty - but it's not the only way, nor necessarily the best way. American employment law tends to give all rights to the employer and none to the employee in such situations. Which is one way to resolve things, but it's not the best way, the only way, or the way handed down from the gods on tablets of stone.

    And it's sure as shit not the solution demanded by the principles of personal liberty.
    I have to say it makes no sense to me in this particular case. The employer sending him on a business trip arguably had nothing, in terms of responsibility, to do with his decision to engage in what was risky behaviour on his own behalf outside working hours. What, for example, if the guy had died during a dodgy asphyxiation sex game?
    French law says that, as his presence in that city was due to his employer requiring him to go there, they are liable. It doesn't make any distinction between different misadventures that could befall him, and his employer knew that. Essentially it's just a risk imposed on their business - they are effectively being required to insure their employees' lives while those employees are diverted from their normal lives by the requirements of their work.

    I am not convinced that it's the best approach to take, but nor does it seem unreasonable or unjust - it's part of the law, and the employer should be aware that it is a risk they are liable for.

    It's interesting to me that people seem to think that death during sex, or due to sex games, is somehow fundamentally different from other death by misadventure. It isn't, and I don't see why it should be. If he had decided to take a hot air balloon trip and fallen from the basket, the employer would also have been liable - and the case would have been no different in any substantive sense - but it probably wouldn't have made the news outside France. Sex sells newspapers.

    The principle that the employer is liable for misadventure of all kinds while employees are on business trips is arbitrary, and can lead to some odd outcomes. But it is no more arbitrary than any alternative legal principle; And it is perfectly reasonable, as long as all parties are aware of the liabilities and risks that they are taking on. It assuredly does NOT imply that the employer should or could have a say in the choice of lawful activities employees might engage in while 'off the clock' on a business trip.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    ...

    The principle that the employer is liable for misadventure of all kinds while employees are on business trips is arbitrary, and can lead to some odd outcomes. But it is no more arbitrary than any alternative legal principle; And it is perfectly reasonable, as long as all parties are aware of the liabilities and risks that they are taking on. It assuredly does NOT imply that the employer should or could have a say in the choice of lawful activities employees might engage in while 'off the clock' on a business trip.
    I think your summary is why americans are so suspicious of government social welfare tendencies. Your very apt summary is so much different than the perfectly reasonable assumption american enterprise pays our government to enact and enforce.

    First we put on legal lipstick by outlawing debtor prisons. Then laws are enacted that punish those who fall behind on their voluntary entered into debts multiplied by legally sanctioned outlandish interest rates are sanctioned with loss of their homes and jobs. Then laws that forbid street people are used to put people behind bars.

    Not only are we noted for being tinkers we are famous for bait and switch liars.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    French law says that, as his presence in that city was due to his employer requiring him to go there, they are liable. It doesn't make any distinction between different misadventures that could befall him, and his employer knew that. Essentially it's just a risk imposed on their business - they are effectively being required to insure their employees' lives while those employees are diverted from their normal lives by the requirements of their work.
    This is the morals & principles section of the philosophy forum, not the legal department. I do strongly disagree with you. I do not see a good argument for holding the employer responsible in this case. Essentially, someone is free to act irresponsibly, and someone else is responsible. That makes no sense to me in terms of morals and ethics.

    Now, if French law was clear on this, then you might say that all parties were fully aware of their responsibilities beforehand, but I don't think it is clear. Also this year, a French professional basketball player died of a heart attack during official training session, and the employer was held by a court not to be responsible, and that incident took place in the workplace during normal working hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    The principle that the employer is liable for misadventure of all kinds while employees are on business trips is arbitrary, and can lead to some odd outcomes. But it is no more arbitrary than any alternative legal principle; And it is perfectly reasonable, as long as all parties are aware of the liabilities and risks that they are taking on.
    The alternative, that the company is not responsible in the OP case, would not seem to be arbitrary, rather it would seem to be in accord with wider notions of freedoms and consequent responsibilities that are usually applied by and to humans.

    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    It assuredly does NOT imply that the employer should or could have a say in the choice of lawful activities employees might engage in while 'off the clock' on a business trip.
    I agree. Imo, the employee should arguably be free to choose what activities to engage in outside work, and with that freedom should come personal responsibility. 'Being on a business trip' in no way obliged him to go to the home of a woman and have sex with her. He could have done that on any night of a normal working week, or at a weekend.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 09-17-2019 at 10:11 AM.

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    Only the French could call sex an industrial accident.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    This is the morals & principles section of the philosophy forum, not the legal department. I do strongly disagree with you. I do not see a good argument for holding the employer responsible in this case. Essentially, someone is free to act irresponsibly, and someone else is responsible. That makes no sense to me in terms of morals and ethics.
    The French government through due consideration did find a moral rationale for their law. After all, law is considered the moral baseline for a society's moral behavior.

    You continue with your shift of of morality from that of governments to personal which just isn't appropriate as a counter to a government declaration.

    If it were everyone would be disregarding coded national moral policy on personal grounds.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post

    The employee should arguably be free to choose what activities to engage in outside work, and with that freedom should come personal responsibility. 'Being on a business trip' in no way obliged him to go to the home of a woman and have sex with her. He could have done that on any night of a normal working week, or at a weekend.
    Since the law covers travel, the courts are permitted to presume the company is aware of it's special obligations with respect to employees on travel and they should get the employee to sign waivers applicable to legal abnormal situations such as out of marriage entertainment.

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