Theoretically, an adult film actress could file a conventional worker’s compensation claim for such an injury but this is not someone who is paid for such work. The woman testified that she was traveling and went out to dinner with a friend. When they went back to the hotel for a sexual interlude, a lamp fell on the woman and injured her. The man offered testimony that he could not say how it happened because they were “going hard” at the time of the accident. The woman claimed that since she was traveling for the office, the injury occurred “during the course of employment.”
Nicholas agreed and noted that she would have been allowed to recover if she had slipped in the shower or “injured while playing a game of cards” and that sex was an “ordinary incident of life” in a hotel room.
The woman in her thirties claimed facial and psychological injuries from being hit by the glass fitting in November 2007.
In the United States, you are covered for injuries in a hotel if you are traveling on business. The question is whether any injury is covered regardless of what you are doing in the hotel room. Nicholas has a point that sex is not in anyway unforeseeable or improper conduct. Ironically, when dealing with a question of the “scope of employment” in the area of respondeat superior, the courts will make an exception for any “frolic or detour.” This would certainly appear a frolic in a conventional sense, but the court viewed this as a standard use of a room.
Not to appear salacious in this context, there is a “coming and going rule” that bars employees in the United States from generally collecting workers compensation if they are injured while commuting to or from work. However, that is not the rule for injury during travel. What constitutes work is generally give broad reading. For example, in Griffith v. Miamisburg (2008), a police trainee injured during a basketball game at a training facility was covered.
The cases turn on very precise notions of whether the employee was still at work at a hotel. Thus, in Jones v. USF Holland, Inc. (Ohio 2011), a truck driver who was staying at a hotel picked by his company was viewed as not covered when he slipped in the shower. He was viewed as “off-the-clock” by the court between hauls. However, in Lippolt v. Hague (2008), an employee injured in a hotel parking lot was deemed as covered because the worker was traveling for the company.
On a different aspect of worker’s comp, porn stars have organized to get worker’s compensation coverage for themselves and their colleagues. Notably, they have not argued for compensation for STDs, though that would seem a predictable risk for the industry. Movie companies have long opposed such coverage. Presumably, these workers are treated as contractors by the studios.
The judge’s ruling in this case makes sense if employees are covered for any injuries during travel. Moreover, it is not clear that the lighting fixture would not have fallen without the sexual encounter. What do you think?