A Spanish man was fined after his employer discovered that he had been absent from work for six years without notifying anyone. Joaquin Garcia, a 69-year-old engineer at a municipal water company in Cadiz, was fined more than $30,300 after his employer discovered that he hadn’t reported for work for six years while attempting to present him an award for 20 years of service.
The maximum fine represents only sightly less than one year of his annual salary of almost $41,600. His employers at the water company believed he was being supervised by local authorities while deputy mayor Jorge Blas Fernandez thought the opposite to be true. “We thought he had been supervised by the water company but that was not the case,” he told Spanish news outlet El Mundo.
According to the BBC local newspapers have given Garcia the nickname “el funcionario fantasma” or “the phantom official.”
Garcia said a combination of office bullying related to his family’s politics and a lack of work for him to do at the water company ultimately caused his extended absence. He did not report these condition for fear of losing his job. He did occasionally report to work for brief periods of time but spent his days at the office studying philosophy. Garcia wrote to the mayor and requested to not pay the fine and is seeking a review of the court’s ruling.