Man skipped work for 6 years and no one noticed until he won an award

His employer was not sure whether he had died or retired

Joaquín García, 69, was recently fined $30,000 (3 million) for the extended paid vacation from a water treatment plant in Cádiz -- the maximum penalty government officials could deliver, the BBC reported.

Commendation

According to deputy mayor Jorge Blas, it wasn’t until Garcia was due to be recognized for his hard work that authorities realized his office was sitting vacant.

"I wondered whether he was still working there, had he retired, had he died? But the payroll showed he was still receiving a salary," Blas told Spanish newspaper El Mundo

“I called him up and asked him, ‘What did you do yesterday? The month before, the month before that?’ He didn’t know what to say,” Blas said.

Garcia's water company coworkers thought the plant was being overseen by local authorities because they hadn't seen Garcia in so long.

Bullying

Garcia’s attorney, speaking on his behalf, reportedly blamed bullying at his workplace for his absence. He also said there was no work to do.

People close to Garcia told El Mundo that he dedicated himself to reading philosophy instead and that he did not report the bullying out of fear that he could be fired.

Garcia retired after the allegations came to light, though he denies wrongdoing.

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