Australian woman wins legal battle after being injured during sex
A woman from Australia, who got injured while having sex during a work trip, has won compensation after a 5-year legal battle.
The full bench of the Federal Court dismissed an appeal from workplace health insurer Comcare, which had argued that the woman's motel room tryst had nothing to do with her job.
However, the court said that it did not matter whether the woman spent her evenings having sex or "playing a game of cards," she was still, in effect, at work, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The case is likely to have significant repercussions for employers, as it clarifies when they are responsible for their employees.
The woman, who worked for a federal government agency, was sent on a work trip to an office in regional NSW in November 2007.
The woman's employer booked her a motel, where she arranged to meet and dine with a male friend after work.
The couple returned to her room and had sex, during which a glass light fitting above the bed was pulled off its mount and fell onto her face injuring her nose and mouth.
After the incident, she suffered from depression and anxiety, rendering her unable to work.
The Federal Court suppressed the woman's name during an earlier appeal, saying she was unprepared to continue with the case "if a consequence of doing so is that her true identity will be made public."
The insurance company initially accepted her claim but later revoked it, saying the injury happened outside the course of her official duties.
She appealed unsuccessfully against that decision, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal said that her "injuries were unrelated to her employment, took place during her leisure time and were of a private nature."
However, a second appeal to the Federal Court last year was decided in the favour of the woman.
The workplace insurer then took the case to the court's full bench this year, saying the public servant's employer had not approved her out-of-hours liaison and could not be held responsible for it.
But the three judges ruled last week that the woman's "lawful sexual activity" was not misconduct and she should not, therefore, be punished for it.