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Did a Spanish Civil Servant Get Away With Not Going to Work for Years?

While there may be days that we don’t want to go to the office or just skip work for a couple of days, an actual person did so and was even compensated for it. Let’s find out what happened.

Joaquin Garcia was hired by the water board and was compensated for six years or even more, even if he did not work. The administration could only figure this out when he was supposed to be awarded for his long time in service.

How Did Joaquin Garcia Get the Job?

Joaquin Garcia is an engineer who started a job at the local government unit of Cadiz, Spain, in 1990. By 1996, he was appointed for a position at the municipal water board, Agua de Cadiz. His job was to supervise the wastewater treatment plant. (Source: The Guardian)

How Did the Authorities Find Out About His Absence?

In 2010, Garcia was due to collect an award from deputy mayor Jorge Blas Fernandez. This was when Fernandez first found out that Garcia has not been going to work.

He was still on the payroll. I thought, where is this man? Is he still there? Has he retired? Has he died?

Jorge Blas Fernandez

After confirming that Garcia had not been going to work, he called him in.

I asked him, what are you doing? What did you do yesterday? And the previous month? He could not answer.

Jorge Blas Fernandez

(Source: The Guardian)

What Consequences Did Garcia Face?

The court fined Garcia a total of €27,000. This was the amount of taxes he had to pay from one year of his annual salary. It was assumed that he did not go to work for six years, but it could have been more.

Garcia defended himself and said that he had gone to work, but he didn’t keep regular business hours as he was a victim of workplace bullying. (Source: The Guardian)

While he tried to deny the allegations against him, he has gone into hiding after getting harassed by the media for the issue. (Source: BBC)

The courts concluded that the water board made the mistake of assuming that it was the city council’s responsibility to watch over Garcia’s employment and performance. (Source: The Guardian)

Why Did Garcia Opt Not To Go To Work?

Garcia was pretty adamant about the fact that he had been going to work, just not at the times he was expected. He claimed that his co-workers were bullying him for his family being socialists.

Friends testified that the engineer had been uncomfortable reporting the harassment because he didn’t want to lose his job since he had a family to support. He was worried that at his age, he wouldn’t be hired. He moved to a schedule that would not give him much work and eliminate interaction with his co-workers. The issue has caused so much stress in his life that he fell into depression and has been seeing a psychiatrist for it. (Source: The Guardian)

Garcia has written to the mayor of Cadiz asking him to excuse him from paying the fine. (Source: BBC)

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