Monday, December 17, 2012

Australia: Businesswoman Injured While Enjoying Sexual Romp, Workman's Comp Claim Approved

According to The Australian, an unidentified workman's comp claimant employed by a federal agency, has prevailed in her legal appeal of a ruling that her injury while having sex in a hotel room was not job-related.

The employee, who is in her late 30s, claimed facial and psychological injuries after a glass light fixture fell from the ceiling above the bed in her hotel room while she was having sex with a male friend. As a result of her injuries to her face, nose and mouth, the employee suffered depression and was unable to continue to work at the time.

After three appeals, the Full Bench of the Federal Court ruled last week that in the absence of misconduct or any intentionally self-inflicted injury, the injuries should be considered as sustained during "the course of her employment," despite the fact that the injuries were sustained in 2007.

Initially, the woman's compensation claim was accepted by Comcare, the Australian federal government's underwriter, but it was later withdrawn after an administrative tribunal ruled that sex was "not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay, such as showering, sleeping and eating," according to The Associated Press.

COMMENT: The federal court's ruling affirmed that the woman would have been entitled to a workman's comp claim if she had been playing cards in her hotel room, but the fact that she was engaged in sexual activity "rather than some other lawful activity," should not be deemed a disqualifying factor.

Although I have been managing global workplace risk for over 30 years, this is the first time in my recollection that I've seen a workman's comp claim upheld as in this case.

 I trust that this legal precedent may prevail in workman's comp claims in the future, regardless of how vigorous the work-related activity.

Life is no doubt good and equitable "down under."