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France – Workers exposed to asbestos can claim compensation for anxiety damage if they can prove exposure and resulting anxiety

Written by
Capstan Avocats, the law firm setting the benchmark for labour law in France.
Following a recent Supreme Court decision, French workers exposed to asbestos can now claim for damage caused by anxiety related to the consequences of their asbestos exposure regardless of where they worked, if they can prove they were exposed to and suffer from ‘anxiety damage’.

The law of 23 December 1998 made it possible for workers employed by certain establishments listed in the law to take early retirement, when they have been particularly exposed to asbestos, even if they have not developed any occupational disease linked to this exposure. In 2010, the French Supreme Court ruled that these workers who have worked in one of these establishments may claim compensation for the damage caused by their permanent concern about the risk of developing an asbestos-related disease (known as ‘anxiety damage’).

In a judgment handed down on 5 April 2019, the French Supreme Court ruled that all workers who have been exposed to asbestos under conditions likely to seriously compromise their state of health, even those who have not worked in one of the establishments listed by law, may claim compensation for anxiety damage, if they can prove the exposure and resulting anxiety.