In 2010, the French Supreme Court recognised the specific harm of anxiety of employees who worked at a site on the list of establishments entitled to early retirement, due to asbestos. This injury corresponds to the situation of permanent anxiety in which they live, facing the risk of an asbestos-related disease at any time. Beneficiaries did not have to demonstrate the reality of the anxiety they felt.
The Court, in its most solemn formation, has changed its case law. Provided that he/she proves to have been significantly exposed to asbestos dust, the employee may act against his/her employer for breach of its safety obligation, even if he/she worked in an establishment that was not on the list.
For its part, the employer may attempt to exonerate itself from its responsibility, by demonstrating that it has taken all the necessary preventive and security measures.
It now remains to be seen if this responsibility will not be extended to other hypotheses of exposure to harmful products (hydrocarbons, coal, lead, ionising radiation, etc.).