The 50-year-old worker at a Daimler car factory in Sindelfingen, southern Germany, sued his trade association after they said his canteen condiment catastrophe was no grounds for compensation.
Effectively, the association ruled it was not an accident at work and their insurance coverage ended at the canteen door.
And the Heilbronn court upheld the association’s decision on Monday, with the judge agreeing that eating is a private matter, and not work-related.
According to a report in Focus magazine, the man was carrying a tray though the Daimler canteen in May 2010 and failed to notice the large quantity of spilled condiment on the floor. The unfortunate man landed on his left elbow.
The court said that even though the canteen was financed by the employer, the employee was not obliged to eat there as part of his work agreement.
This would be distinct from an accident that occurred during a business lunch, for instance, when executives discuss important deals. Insurers would be happy to pay up should a company manager choke on his prawn canapé.