A 69-year-old Spanish civil servant, Joaquin Garcia, seemed on paper a dedicated employee of a water utility owned by the Spanish city of Cádiz.
As it turned out, Garcia didn't bother to show up to work for six year; then again, no one bothered to notice during that time either. But Garcia now has a €27,000 ($30,400) fine to pay off after his long absence was finally noticed.
Officials in Cádiz were preparing to hand Garcia an award for his long service when inquiries revealed the true extent of his contributions to the water utility. However, It didn’t explain why Garcia's absence went undetected for so long.
Jorge Blas Fernandez, who served as the city’s deputy mayor from 1995 to 2015, said García was given an office in the municipal building and no more was heard from him for more than a decade.
“We thought the water company was supervising him but that was not the case,” he added. “We found out when we were about to present him with a commemorative plaque for 20 years of service.”
A legal case was launched in 2010 alleging he had not done a day’s work since 2004, despite continuing to collect his €37,000 ($41,650) annual salary.
Garcia claims he occasionally visited his office but found no work to do. He said he was the victim of workplace bullying because of disagreements between the council and the water company.
After a protracted lawsuit, Garcia lost his appeal and must pay a fine equivalent to one year's salary after tax.
But there's still a slight chance he might get out of it, as Garcia has written to the mayor asking not to have to pay the fine, and will ask for a review of the judgment.
By the way, the city didn't even get a chance to fire him: the 69-year-old retired instead. We suspect he'll have no trouble transitioning to a life that doesn't include heading to the office every morning.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Stringer