Reminder: Your Boss Isn’t Liable If You Suffer A Sex Injury On A Work Trip

The High Court of Australia has ruled that a public servant who injured herself while having sex "on the job" is not eligible for compensation. The woman was injured when a motel light fixture fell on her and a male colleague mid-coitus. While originally winning the case, the decision was overturned on the grounds that the woman's injuries were not caused in the course of her employment. In other words, if you manage to get lucky during a work trip, you might want to keep the gymnastic horseplay to a minimum.

Hotel nooky picture from Shutterstock

The case of the amorous Federal Government employee and the loose light fitting first made headlines in 2011. The incident took place in a rural New South Wales motel room booked by the claimant's employer. The woman lodged a compensation claim after the light above her bed was dislodged during (presumably very vigorous) sex with a co-worker.

Although the claim was initially accepted, the Government's workplace safety body later revoked the decision. The woman, who suffered face, teeth and nose injuries during her romp, went on to lodge a series of appeals, culminating in today's verdict. The High Court ruled that her employer was not liable as the incident occurred after hours.

According to a statement from her colleague-cum-lover, it was unclear whether the light had been bumped during sex or simply fell off.

"I think she was on her back when it happened but I was not paying attention because we were rolling around," he added.

We have mixed feelings about this verdict. On the one hand, it seems needlessly churlish to deny someone compensation simply because nooky was involved -- would they have made the same decision if she had fallen in the motel shower or been involved in a car accident on the way back home? Both could be technically classed as "after hours" but we doubt many employers would overturn such a claim.

On the other hand, should public servants really be having this much fun on a business trip funded by tax payers? If you're up all night having appliance-rattling sex, your mind probably isn't where it should be.

Do you think the High Court was fair in its ruling? Or should employees be protected from any-and-all injuries while travelling for work? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below!

See also: How To Secure And Maintain A 'Sex Buddy' Relationship | Is Sex Better If You Plan It With A Spreadsheet? | IT Worker Gets Fired In The Worst Way Possible (Hint: It Involves Porn)

[Via ABC News]


Comments

    Hmm.. Seems somewhat strange.. Sure the sex obviously isn't related to their job.. but at the same time they were clearly there on business, and may not have otherwise found themselves there, nor can anyone prove that the light might not have fallen on them regardless of whether they were having sex or not..

    What's next, doing push ups on a work trip and the whole building falls down, oh sorry pushups aren't a work activity so you aren't covered for anything.

    Not that I can presume to know the facts of the case though obviously.

      I agree, they would have to be able to prove that the sexual activity was the cause of the light fitting fall. Otherwise it really is a work related injury as the fitting would have fallen anyway.

        But if it was just the light fitting falling off, it would have been a claim against the motel, not against the workplace.

      To me it's the same as the fact you're covered driving from worksite to worksite, and from work to home, but if you go on a date on the way home and don't get home until the next morning, it's not a workers comp issue.

      I'm glad she won this case, it was stupid. Especially if she was dumb enough to tell them what happened.

    According to a statement from her colleague-cum-lover

    Oh I see what you did there.

    Are you covered for any hotel room accidents on a work trip?

    I'd consider sex about as normal as eating, sleeping and having a shower. So if I'm covered for a slip in the shower, burning myself making tea, tripping on a rug, or being poisoned by hotel food, etc. It seems silly that I wouldn't be covered for light-fittings that fall while I'm having sex.

    Snigger snigger. Then once it's over, forget about the fact that sex was involved and wonder if you would be covered if your chair broke while having dinner. Or the bed collapsed. Or some other accident happened while you were travelling, and the only reason you were travelling was because you were required to for work. The answer, thanks to this case, is no. Tough luck.

    The media hijacked this and made it into a "naughty public servant" case, when it has a serious underlying issue. And the issue has been decided well and truly in favour of your employer.

    Could I receive compensation for a paper cut from playing cards when I visited the casino while I was away for work?

    Could she have claimed compensation for contracting an STI during the sex?

    Could I claim compensation for getting mugged after having a few beers when I'm away for work?

    Would I be covered if I had a car accident when picking up the work mail, but decided to take a detour to buy some tickets for the concert this weekend?

    It is really important that there is a distinction between "work related" and "during a nominal work period". Yes, she was away from work for a work purpose. However, she was not encouraged as such to participate in any particular activities.

    It may be something that is common (sex in a motel, perhaps even on a business trip). However, the fact that it had nothing to do with her employer, was not suggested to by her employer, and did not form part of the reason that she was away for business, indicates that it is not "work related"

    Assuming it wasn't as a result of their activities, I'm wondering why they're not instead seeking compensation from the hotel

    I get it's tricky to try and work out where the line can be drawn. The line is drawn, when it comes to "business trips" at pretty much everything. If you are participating in something that is not, by it's own nature, extra ordinary and likely to result in injury, and you are doing it on a business trip that you are only doing because you have a master-servant relationship (see employment law), then you should be covered by workers compensation.

    Having sex is not dangerous, and it's a normal everyday human thing to do. If this light fitting had fallen on her head while she had been sleeping in the bed would, you would never have heard of this case - because it would have been just one of the many compensation payments made for people who have become injured, through no fault of their own, in the course of their employment. Workers compensation is supposed to be no-fault. Employees are at the direction of someone else, and are required by employment law to comply with those directions so long as the directions are lawful. This direction extends to travelling. If someone is then injured, because the law compels them to travel at the direction of their employer, and they then stay in a hotel where faulty fittings cause them an injury, they should be entitled to compensation. The fact that they were having sex at the time should be irrelevant.

    Hopefully this answers most of your hypothetical questions. Unless the injury was caused by some kind of activity which is out of the ordinary and involves some suggestion that the individual willingly exposed themselves to an abnormal risk, then why would you think they should not be compensated?

    If they were at home, and had finished work, then it's a completely different matter. But everything you do at a distant location when you are only there because you are required to be for your employment is and should be covered by workers compensation.

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