Woman Wins Workers' Comp Over Sex Accident On Business Trip

Australian court hotel sex injuries business trip

By Rod McGuirk


An Australian court has ruled that a bureaucrat who was injured while having sex on a business trip is eligible for worker's compensation benefits.

The Full Bench of the Federal Court ruled Dec. 13 in favor of the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and rejecting the appeal of the federal government's insurer, ending a five-year legal battle.

The woman was hospitalized after being injured in 2007 during sex with a male friend while staying in a motel in the town of Nowra, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of her hometown of Sydney.

During the sex, a glass light fitting was torn from its mount above the bed and landed on her face, injuring her nose and mouth. She later suffered depression and was unable to continue working for the government.

Her claim for worker's compensation for her physical and psychological injuries was initially approved by government insurer Comcare, then rejected after further investigation.

More: Woman Sues Employer Over Sex Accident On Business Trip

An administrative tribunal agreed with Comcare that her injuries were not suffered in the course of her employment, saying the government had not induced or encouraged the woman's sexual conduct. The tribunal also found the sex was "not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay" such as showering, sleeping and eating.

That ruling was overturned in the Federal Court in 2012, when Judge John Nicholas rejected the tribunal's findings that the sex had to be condoned by the government if she were to qualify for compensation.

"If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room, she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced her to engage in such activity," Nicholas wrote in his judgment in favor of the woman receiving compensation.

More: Outrageous Workers Comp Scams Are No Laughing Matter

In the Full Bench decision upholding Nicholas' decision, Judges Patrick Keane, Robert Buchanan and Mordy Bromberg agreed last week that the government's views on the woman having sex in her motel room were irrelevant.

"No approval, express or implied, of the respondent's conduct was required," they said.

It is not yet clear how much compensation the woman will be paid.

Comcare was on Monday considering an appeal to the High Court, Australia's highest legal authority, Comcare spokesman Russ Street said.

"The issue is a significant one," Street said in a statement. "Workers need to be clear about their entitlements and employers should have an understanding of their responsibilities and how to support their staff."

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35 Comments

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DanD

Suddenly, the LIGHT COMES ON!

January 09 2013 at 1:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pegleg11852

How stupid is the judge? Beyond belief. The government was not paying her to engage in sex.

January 09 2013 at 1:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jennifer

She should have sued the hotel and not asked for workman's comp.

December 18 2012 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
virginia

damn thats crazy. but she was on employers time.

December 18 2012 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crotalus

Seems like many of the commenters on this thread didn't read or comprehend the article or even think about the situation.

Basically, the woman was in bed and a lighting fixture fell on her. She happened to be engaged in a sexual act at the time the lighting fixture fell. If she had just been sleeping, she would have been covered, which the court basically pointed out.

Nothing in the article would lead the reader to believe that the sex act in any way caused the injury.

Sorry to spoil the government-bashing party on this thread, but this is just an example of an INSURANCE company trying to avoid paying a claim, which happens all the time.

December 18 2012 at 12:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to crotalus's comment
broadwaytool

I'd bet that the light wouldn't have fallen if she were just sleeping. I can see where her medical bills should have been taken care of, but seriously, she got a busted nose and now her depression from that busted nose will never allow her to work? Guess it's good to work for the government.

December 18 2012 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
I LOVE YOU BABY

If you read the article, it stated that during the act, the lighting fixture was TORN OFF the wall from above the bed. I'd like to see how a light can be torn out of the wall above a bed if you're not pulling on it. Reminds me of the time I was in a hotel in KY once coming back from a race in Bristol. We ended up ripping the headboard off the wall. Maybe I should have sued NASCAR because of it.

June 08 2013 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
zapdog4

Liberalism at its Finest!

December 18 2012 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
funinkearney

I guess if you are getting bonked by the boss on a business trip it would be an injury while on company time, lol. I guess swinging from the light fixture while having sex wasn't such a good idea.

December 18 2012 at 10:01 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BARTLETT PLASTER

now thats the gov't for you, but we been getting screwed by the Govt too so can we sue?

December 18 2012 at 9:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BARTLETT PLASTER's comment
broadwaytool

Apparently they have to cause you to be depressed making you unemployable... lol Maybe we can get a class action suit going.

December 18 2012 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Grasshopper

what happened to individual responsibilty? .... it's the American way - always blame somebody else for your actions ..... why not Australia? .... it's pathetic, and the legal system does not have the guts to stand up against the whing crybabies

December 18 2012 at 8:32 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Grasshopper's comment
crotalus

This was an injury which, according to a court which heard all the facts, was covered by an insurance policy. The insurer didn't want to pay, the courts say they have to.

How is this situation a failure of individual responsibility? If you were in an accident and your insurance company refused to pay, would you just fold? Or would you step up and sue them and make them meet their contract obligations?

December 18 2012 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to crotalus's comment
broadwaytool

For the medical bills, I would say the insurance company would be responsible. But for depression from a busted nose that will no long allow you to work? C'mom.... think she should be taken care of the rest of her life for that?

December 18 2012 at 3:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
rcarr80807

And I thought that the U.S. was the only country run by MORONS.

December 18 2012 at 7:55 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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