German Court Rules Hangovers Are Legal “Illnesses”

A German court in Frankfurt was ruling on false health claims in a product advertising case when it made a notable threshold finding: a hangover is a legal “illness.” The finding was necessary to define the product as claiming to heal of human illness. The ruling explains its reasoning, but my question is whether the finding would mean that having a hangover would also then qualify as an illness to missing work and other employment protections. I ask because this month a French court ruled that the family of man who denied having sex while on a business trip could file for compensation for a work-related injury or death. Does this mean that in the European Union, the family of a worker who drinks himself to death might be able to receive compensation for a work-related death?

The German court was sued over claims that its product could cure hangover with anti-hanger shots and powders. The Court ruled that hangovers create physical changes that quality as an illness: “By an illness, one should understand even small or temporary disruptions to the normal state or normal activity of the body.”

This was welcomed news as the annual Oktoberfest beer festival kicked off in Munich.

In the meantime, a Paris court death with found a company liable for the death of an employee who went into cardiac arrest during sex with a stranger on a business trip. It was ruled an industrial accident even though the man was obviously not performed a work-related function and was on his own time. The court however ruled that any accident on a business trip is work-related and covered.

10 thoughts on “German Court Rules Hangovers Are Legal “Illnesses””

  1. A hangover is, indeed, a physical malady that can become life threatening if it crosses the threshold into alcohol poisoning. So is heroin withdrawal.

    I never thought before about acceptable and not acceptable illness excuses. Have anti-discrimination laws put us into a pickle? Perhaps, in Germany, there will be a raft of hangover sick days on Mondays. Can you be fired for repeatedly calling in sick for a hangover, since it is a legally recognizable illness? Is it discriminatory to fire someone for certain illnesses, if they do not exceed their sick days?

  2. Praise The Lord and pass the ammunition. That was a phrase from the Pearl Harbour event. On Monday the men began saying: Praise The Lard On Sunday! And Crisco On Monday!
    A hangover is not an illness. Alcohol does not always cause a hangover. Hangover is when you pay a stated sum for a roll in the hay at the cathouse and you stay longer than what you paid for. Even Two Time Sally won’t give another roll.

  3. The courts are right on all counts. Hangovers are an illness, alcoholism is an illness, dying while having sex with someone not your partner while on a work-related trip is an industrial death claim.

    1. ” … dying while having sex with someone not your partner while on a work-related trip is an industrial death claim.”
      And, if you’re a US Congressman, an occupational disease.

    2. Paul – is it considered an industrial death for the sex worker’s occupation, where she would be investigated for workplace safety, or for the employee indulging in prostitutes while on business travel?

      Either way, the OSHA investigation would be interesting.

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