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Compensation Claim denied to woman injured having sex

The High Court has ruled that a Canberra Public Servant who was injured having sex while staying overnight in a motel on a work related trip is not entitled to workers compensation.

The employee was working in Nowra for two days and staying in a motel room booked and paid for by her employer.  During sexual intercourse with a local man in her motel room, the employee was injured when she was hit in the face by a light fitting above the bed. She sustained injuries to her nose and mouth and also developed a psychological injury.  Her claim for Workers Compensation was denied by Comcare (the Federal Workers Compensation Insurer) on the basis her injuries were not sustained in the course of her employment.

The employee’s appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was unsuccessful.  She then appealed to the Federal Court which found in her favour. The Federal Court set aside the Tribunal’s Decision, reasoning that because the injury occurred in an “interval or interlude”during an overall period of work, it therefore arose in the course of her employment. This Decision was upheld by the Full Court of the Federal Court.

However, this week in what many are trumpeting as a victory for common sense, the High Court allowed Comcare’s Appeal and ruled the employee was not entitled to workers compensation. The Court held that the relevant question is whether the employer induced or encouraged the employee to engage in the particular activity which caused the injury.  Obviously the answer to this question was “no”.

If you need legal assistance in relation to compensation or another work related question call Peter Moore on (02) 43247699.

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