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Public Servant’s Sex Compo Claim Hopes Dashed!

October 30, 2013

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A public servant who was injured while having sex in a motel room during a work trip is not eligible for compensation, the High Court has ruled.

The Federal Government employee, who cannot be named, was injured in 2007 when a light fitting was dislodged and fell on her as she was having sex with a man.

The incident took place in a motel room in a country town in New South Wales, where the woman, aged in her 30s, and another employee had travelled for work.

Her employer had booked her into the motel room.

The woman said the light hit her in the face, injuring her nose, mouth and a tooth and also causing a psychiatric adjustment disorder.

She was taken to hospital for treatment.

The Government’s workplace safety body, ComCare, initially accepted the claim, but it was later revoked and the decision was also upheld by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

In April 2012, the woman won an appeal against those decisions in the Federal Court. Her employer was also ordered to pay her court costs.

The judge, John Nicholas, said the appeals tribunal had erred in saying that the woman had to prove her injury had been caused by an activity that had been “implied” or “encouraged” by her employer.

Justice Nicholas said if the woman had been injured playing cards in her motel room she would get compensation, and that the incident was no different.

However, ComCare lodged an appeal against the Federal Court decision on four grounds, including that the court was wrong in finding the woman’s injuries were caused “in the course of her employment”.

Today, the High Court accepted ComCare’s case that is was not liable because the incident happened after hours.

Federal Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz hailed the High Court ruling in the “infamous sex case” as a victory for common sense.

“This decision protects the currency of work place safety which was in serious danger of being trivialised by this claim,” Senator Abetz said.

“This decision also means that the definition of ‘work-related injury’ is more clearly defined.

“It’s important in Australian workplaces that we have a form of ‘mutual obligation’ where employees and employers both work together and are prepared to accept personal responsibility.

“Instances such as this where an employee seeks to stretch the boundaries of entitlements are of great concern and the High Court’s intervention is welcome.”

During a hearing into the woman’s initial claim in 2011, her lawyer Leo Grey said that there was no suggestion she had engaged in any misconduct.

Mr Grey said her injury occurred during “an ordinary incident of life commonly undertaken in a motel room at night”.

In a statement, the man involved in the act said: “I do not know if we bump the light or it just fell off.”

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

 

 

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. Splatterbottom permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:18 pm

    I have to say that I am utterly sickened by the sexism of this decision. If the victim had been a man he would have been compensated! For example the court said:

    “Nor did the employer know or could reasonably expect that such an activity was contemplated by her. The activity was not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay like showering, sleeping, eating”

    In the case of a male, the employer would obviously have known and expected that he would be shagging someone or something, which was at least as likely as him showering, sleeping or eating.

  2. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:28 pm

    This decision seems terribly unfair. It will certainly make me think twice about rooting a colleague during a conference. Without being eligible to claim workers compensation, having sex with work mates now appears to be a huge risk.

    The judgement is a blow to many hard working public servants who should be eligible to screw their colleagues as part of their work activities. Now they’ll all have to do a risk assessment before hand…and how can this help when they’re probably already pissed at public expense?

    I know Fifi has also closely followed this case, for entirely professional reasons.

  3. October 30, 2013 1:29 pm

    Good point splatterbottom.

  4. Ol' Sancty permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:41 pm

    It’s a disgrace!

  5. IPA permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:46 pm

    “Justice Nicholas said if the woman had been injured playing cards in her motel room she would get compensation”

    Quite so. Paper cuts can be very nasty.

  6. Splatterbottom permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:52 pm

    Strip Poker?

  7. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 30, 2013 1:59 pm

    Removing these rights from workers is the thin edge of the wedge. It’s evidence that Abbott is intent on reintroducing Workchoices.

    We should resist this attack on our rights!

  8. Walrus permalink
    October 30, 2013 3:54 pm

    And I thought indiscriminate (Of the “I dont care what you look like” kind) fucking by or amongst public servants only occurred at Darling Harbour

  9. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 4:08 pm

    One of the biggest changes (to meaning) was in the Qld Workers Comp Act … 1978 (I think)

    “Arising out of and in the course of their duties ….”

    To

    “Arising out of or in the course of their duties … ”

    Under the new terminology … the woman would have been eligible …

    Perhaps “arising’ is a bit provocative … 😉

  10. October 30, 2013 4:36 pm

    I think this is a disappointing outcome especially when you consider the “mounting” evidence.

  11. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 4:50 pm

    These things generally “bounce backwards and forwards” in courts …

  12. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 4:53 pm

    heheh, the judiciary is (rightly/finally) getting fed up woth Noddy Newman & The Nitwits and their stormtrooper understanding of the separation of powers!

    http://www.news.com.au/national/queensland/a-brisbane-judge-has-adjourned-a-bikie-bail-review-to-seek-clarity-on-premiers-comments-on-the-case/story-fnii5v6w-1226749666798

  13. October 30, 2013 4:54 pm

    There might be a withdrawal, at some point.

  14. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    October 30, 2013 5:10 pm

    I was at a ‘conference’ overseas recently, and I simply presumed that the treatment of my sexually transmitted disease would be covered by workers compensation.

    This decision really is a disgrace, and from now on I’ll be checking the bed head, lights, mirrors and all the cameras before I have sex with a colleague or an escort, or even both.

  15. October 30, 2013 5:22 pm

    lt seems to me the `motel` is responsible for it`s poorly anchored/located light fitting, not the `employer`, if they had tripped on the doorstep and landed face-first on the ground, breaking a tooth, the motel and/or it`s insurance would liable. Shagging in the motel-bed would not be considered a `rare` or `non-purpose` use of a motel-bed.

  16. egg permalink
    October 30, 2013 5:37 pm

    ‘….psychiatric adjustment disorder.’

    Laughable.

  17. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 6:03 pm

    … and from now on I’ll be checking the bed head

    You should always check your head in bed … especially a strange one (bed that is)

  18. October 30, 2013 6:06 pm

    “You should always check your head in bed …”

    *cough* *cough* *Ahem*

    Is that meant to be a form of self-assessment?

  19. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 6:12 pm

    In your case, sreb, I’d have to answer in the affirmative …

    This article seems to ‘fit nicely” with the topic …

    http://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/google-earth-shows-phalliclooking-church-in-dixon-usa/story-fnjpja3r-1226749646086

  20. egg permalink
    October 30, 2013 6:16 pm

    That must be one of those coincidences we have talked about.

  21. egg permalink
    October 30, 2013 6:21 pm

    Or the heathen architect might have been taking the piss.

  22. October 30, 2013 6:45 pm

    Or is it a `money-grab`.?

  23. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 6:59 pm

    Wonder why … “Stay humble” … you’ll be fkn dead! 😯

  24. October 30, 2013 7:00 pm

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ “Because of the Premier’s extraordinary attacks on the judiciary, we now have a situation where our courts are in crisis,” she said.

    “Today the Premier and the attorney-general need to apologise, they need to withdraw their comments.”

    Ms Palaszczuk said there was now an unprecedented standoff between the executive government and the courts and it was Mr Newman’s responsibility to resolve it.

    “We now have had situation where day in day out the Premier has launched a full scale assault on our judiciary,” she said.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

    ha ha TB, The Qld-teabags are imploding,
    l suspect it won`t be long before the fed`s implode too,
    *go mr rabbit*

  25. October 30, 2013 7:04 pm

    All those so-called “University student protesters” throwing their shoes at Police – you can tell they’re not really struggling when they’re sacrificing the latest styles in Vans footwear to supposedly “make a point…”

  26. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 7:17 pm

    Unfortunately, Mr Newman, was a bit too enamoured of Joh Bjelke Peterson … older Queenslanders will remember and younger ones, these days, are far more informed …

    I’m happy to let he and the the other schoolboy, Bleijie (Attorney General – 28 yo and his law experience is as a clerk FFS!) … cook their own goose … slowly and thoroughly …

    As for Mr Abbott’s government … I’m seeing retention of a lot of the ALP initiatives … because, just my OPINION mind, they are well aware that it was the ALP right faction that fkd their chances not alternative policies …

    I’m even beginning to hope that the NBN may continue as is … its just that I don’t think a dopey nuclear scientist is really the person to champion the most important roll out of communications future this country has ever seen … why give Ziggy the job when he fkd up Telstra so badly they had to bring in a fkn Robber Baron from the USA to make it worse …

    Trujillo’s comments that Australia was “backward” and “racist” generated anger and an overwhelming negative view of Trujillo across Australia.[16] The day after Trujillo made his comments about Australia to the BBC, many Australians took to online news sites, television news programs and talk-back radio to voice their opinions, with many stating Trujillo had wrecked the value and brand of Telstra during his time as CEO of the company

  27. TB Queensland permalink
    October 30, 2013 7:17 pm

    … you can tell they’re not really struggling when they’re sacrificing the latest styles in Vans footwear to supposedly “make a point…”

    Yeah! What happened to thongs!

  28. October 30, 2013 7:44 pm

    TB, sol trullio and his side-kick fat-phil had already fcuked up us-west, giving the telco the nickname us-worst, the fcukwits from telstra that chose sol+phil to help stuff telstra need their fcuking heads read too, this was shit management that most `labors` or `cleaners` would have chosen better,
    *yay nepotism* *yay-robber-barons* *yay-austerity*

  29. October 31, 2013 3:03 pm

    I blame poor lubricant.. I wonder if they were sinking the pink or the brown at the time? psychiatric adjustment disorder..is that when your leg goes to sleep because he cant deliver the juice when your coppin it in the rin tin tin position?..

    Employer: OK i’d like you to go to Orange, arrange that audit, have dinner, get pissed, pick up a stray fuck, swing from the chandelier and….

    Seriously, do some people have no shame?

    Aren’t there some things you just let quietly slip into oblivion as you walk away quietly with your hand in your pockets whistling saying nothing to see here pretending it just didn’t happen?…

    Office Monday; How did you get that cut?
    Well I was………
    Fuck me that’s compo, why don’t you sue?….

    Oh…the injustice of it all.

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