Civil servant fined after failing to show up at work 'for six years'
A Spanish court has ruled that a civil servant who failed to show up to work for years in the southern city of Cadiz must pay back nearly 27,000 euros (£21,000) in wages.
The ruling said the employee of a city-owned water utility did not appear at the office for up to six years and "did absolutely no work" from 2007 to 2010 before his retirement in 2011.
The judgment did not specify how the worker's absence went undetected for so long.
The decision marked the end of a legal process lasting for years after Cadiz city officials sought the penalty and the worker appealed against it.
The ruling said the civil servant cannot be named because of privacy laws.
Former Cadiz deputy mayor Jorge Blas told the El Mundo newspaper that he initiated the investigation when city officials were about to give the worker a certificate honouring 20 years of service and realised he had not been seen at the water utility for a long time after transferring there from a city hall job.
The utility said it thought the worker had transferred back to city hall and the worker had no response when asked what tasks he had recently performed, Mr Blas told the newspaper.
City officials sought the penalty of one year of his net pay, sparking the prolonged legal battle.
Deputy mayor Martin Vila said he was amazed that "a person could be hired for years and collecting (pay) without doing anything whatsoever".
The case has also taken on political undertones, with Mr Vila citing allegations that the worker had been a victim of workplace bullying by members of the conservative Popular Party.
It ruled Cadiz from 1995 to 2015 before it was ousted by a far-left coalition led by the Podemos party.
Mr Vila did not provide more details but said the allegations "would be despicable if confirmed".