No payout for woman's sex injury on work trip
Australia's highest court has ruled that a bureaucrat injured while having sex on a work trip is not entitled to workers' compensation.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was hospitalised in November 2007 after a glass light fitting above a bed she was having sex in fell on to her face, injuring her nose and mouth. The woman also suffered psychological injury.
The woman was visiting a regional office, observing the budget review process, meeting staff and undertaking training – and staying in a motel room booked by her employer.
According to the court transcript, the fitting was pulled from its mount either by the woman or by her acquaintance.
The important test case was brought by Comcare, the government's insurer, which said it centred on whether the woman was "considered 'in the course of employment' for workers' compensation purposes."
The ruling, which could have follow-on effects for other compensation cases, shows that in order to be eligible for compensation Australian workers must be "expressly or impliedly induced or encouraged by the employer" to undertake an activity which leads to injury.
There was no suggestion that the sexual activity was work-related.
In addition, the court found the activity was "not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay like showering, sleeping, eating, or returning to the place of residence from a social occasion elsewhere in the vicinity".
If the light fitting had been faulty, however, the woman would have been entitled to compensation since she was at the motel at the encouragement of her employer, the court found. (© Daily Telegraph, London)