Spain, Jerez de la Frontera Labor Court (No. 3), 13 May 2022, Judgement 232/2022
Deciding body (English)
Deciding body (Original)
Type of body
Type of Court (material scope)
Type of jurisdiction
Type of Court (territorial scope)
Further areas addressed
- Healthcare management (Covid related, excluding vaccination)
- Use of protection devices
Outcome of the decision
Link to the full text of the decision
The Jerez de la Frontera Labor Court (No. 3) had to decide whether the death of a cleaning service worker from Covid-19 at the Jerez de la Frontera Hospital was, in legal terms, a work accident or not. Given the dates and possible place of contagion, the Court held that there was a strong presumption in favor of it being legally considered a work accident which was not properly disproved by the plaintiffs.
Facts of the case
A cleaning service worker of the Jerez de la Frontera Hospital was diagnosed in March 2020 first with nasopharyngitis and then with Covid-19. He was granted temporary disability to work. He died in April 2020. Social Security considered his death a common contingency (not a work accident) when granting an orphan’s pension to his son. His son then challenged the classification and sought a declaration that his death was a work accident.
Type of measure challenged
Measures, actions, remedies claimed
Individual / collective enforcement
Nature of the parties
Type of procedure
Reasoning of the deciding body
The matter at issue was to determine whether the situation that led to the employee’s temporary inability to work derived from a work accident (the claimant’s argument) or from a common illness (the plaintiff’s argument). In this regard, the Court recalled that, according to General Social Security Law, injuries caused to workers during working hours or at their place of work are presumed to be work accidents. It is therefore the plaintiff who should disprove the presumption, which did not happen in this case. The Court explained that the employee worked in the cleaning service of the hospital seven days prior to his first diagnosis with nasopharyngitis. Four days later, the entire dermatology staff was infected with Covid-19. The time frame thus coincided, especially considering that no relatives of the employee were infected with Covid during that same time period. As a consequence, the Court determined that it was highly likely that the infection took place in early March at the hospital, thus his death was considered a work accident.
Conclusions of the deciding body
The Court determined that the death of the cleaning service worker from Covid-19 should be considered a work accident since the infection was presumed to have occurred during his working hours and at his place of work.
Fundamental Right(s) involved
- Right to bodily integrity
- Right to health (inc. right to vaccination, right to access to reproductive health)