Australian loses compensation case for sex injury - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Australian loses compensation case for sex injury

Posted: Updated:

Australia's highest court on Wednesday denied worker's compensation to a bureaucrat who was injured while having sex in her hotel room on a business trip in a final decision reversing lower court rulings.

The 4-1 decision from the High Court said the woman's employer did not induce or encourage her to participate in the activity, so the federal government insurer, Comcare, was not liable to compensate her. The lower court said the woman was injured in the course of her employment and should be compensated.

The woman cannot be identified for legal reasons. She was a federal civil servant in her 30s when she hospitalized for the injury in 2007. While she and a man were having sex in her hotel room, a glass light fitting above the bed fell onto her face, injuring her nose and mouth. She later suffered depression and was unable to continue working for the government.

Comcare initially approved her claim for worker's compensation but rejected it after further investigation. An administrative tribunal agreed 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.

Federal Court Judge John Nicholas overturned that last year, rejecting 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 then.

Comcare lost its appeal to the Full Bench last December, with the judges finding that the government's views on the woman having sex were irrelevant. "No approval, express or implied, of the respondent's conduct was required," they said.

But the High Court ruled that Comcare was not liable to pay compensation. It's not clear how much compensation for the woman's physical and psychological injuries was in question.

"The relevant question is: did the employer induce or encourage the employee to engage in that activity?" a summary of the court ruling said. A majority of judges — Justices Kenneth Hayne, Susan Crennan, Susan Kiefel and Virginia Bell — answered: "No."

Justice Stephen Gageler dissented.

The crucial facts were that the overnight stay was within the two-day period of the work trip and her employer had encouraged the woman to stay in the motel in Nowra, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of her hometown of Sydney.

"In the absence of any suggestion that she was engaged at the time of injury in misconduct, those facts were sufficient to conclude that the injury the respondent sustained during that interval, and when at that place, was sustained in the course of her employment," Gageler said.

"The particular activity in which the respondent was engaged at the time she was injured does not enter into the analysis," he added.

By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • New wristband will shock users if they miss fitness goals

    New wristband will shock users if they miss fitness goals

    Thursday, July 24 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-07-24 17:02:43 GMT
    A new wristband design will deliver an electric shock if the wearer does not meet fitness goals. The Pavlok wristband will be designed to track daily performance. According to the company’s website, the Pavlok compels you into keeping workout and fitness goals by using feedback, reinforcement and electric shock. READ MORE: http://pavlok.com/
    A new wristband design will deliver an electric shock if the wearer does not meet fitness goals. The Pavlok wristband will be designed to track daily performance. According to the company’s website, the Pavlok compels you into keeping workout and fitness goals by using feedback, reinforcement and electric shock. READ MORE: http://pavlok.com/
  • 'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he didn't 'want to play a gay part'

    'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he didn't 'want to play a gay part'

    Thursday, July 24 2014 1:01 PM EDT2014-07-24 17:01:46 GMT
    LOS ANGELES – When Luke Grimes started on HBO’s “True Blood” last season his character James Kent was wooing a female vampire. But Grimes reportedly quit in December when he found out Kent was bisexual and starting a romantic relationship with a gay character in the seventh and final season. Now Nelsan Ellis, the actor who plays Kent’s gay lover on the show, is speaking up -- and he’s not happy. “You quit your job because you don’t want to play a gay part? You make a big statement w...
    LOS ANGELES – When Luke Grimes started on HBO’s “True Blood” last season his character James Kent was wooing a female vampire. But Grimes reportedly quit in December when he found out Kent was bisexual and starting a romantic relationship with a gay character in the seventh and final season. Now Nelsan Ellis, the actor who plays Kent’s gay lover on the show, is speaking up -- and he’s not happy. “You quit your job because you don’t want to play a gay part? You make a big statement w...
  • Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Puerto Rico declares chikungunya epidemic

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:48:06 GMT
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Health officials in Puerto Rico on Thursday declared an epidemic of the mosquito-borne virus known as chikungunya, which was introduced into the Caribbean region late last year. Health Secretary Ana Rius said that more than 200 cases had been confirmed on the island as of June 25 and that the majority of them were reported in the capital of San Juan and nearby areas. The first case of chikungunya in the U.S. territory was reported in late May. Also on Thursday, ...
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices