Australian Justice John Nicholas has handed down a rather provocative ruling: that an employee is entitled to worker’s compensation after she was injured during sex at a hotel.
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?
14 thoughts on “Worker’s Comp? Australian Judge Awards Worker’s Comp To Woman Injured During Sex”
oops … wrong thread
That being said. I have known some truly dedicated priests who follow their vows and tend their flock with devotion.
For those who don’t want to slog thru the Zimmerman thread, this is Tony C’s answer:
@Blouise: Carrot Cake (with sour cream icing) makes an excellent wedding cake. For anybody that doesn’t care for carrot cake, the more traditional vanilla bridesmaid’s cake on the side is available. Or the groom’s chocolate cake. Or the Best Man’s lemon cake. I believe that is the question you were talking about. Let there be leftover cake!
By the way … what was the decision on the wedding cake?
@Blouise: I presume if she got pregnant on the job, her company is entitled to the fruits of her labor. (Pun intended).
Let’s take it one step further. What if after getting accidentally bonked on the head she also found out she was accidentally pregnant?
Now there’s a claim.
I don’t think anything about this, one way or another.
If this person was traveling for work and would be covered if the injury happened any other way, why should sex be different?
I know someone who was injured on the job. Neither he nor the company for whom he worked was at fault. It was a genuine accident. He filed for compensation and the company did not counter the filing for they agreed with it. His medical bills were paid, his time off the job while convalescing was compensated and a settlement for the lost “body part” was granted without argument. Six months after the accident he returned to work and is still gainfully employed by the company. No one had to hire a lawyer or go to court.
What do I think?
This woman gamed the system and I trust the majority of the award will go to her lawyer. But since it took place in Australia, who knows!
An interesting consideration of workers copulation laws.
If this becomes the norm….. We better watch out for the claims from our congressfolks……….
@TalkingDog: Insurance does not socialize losses while privatizing gains in any way.
Insurance is an agreement that all will pay the average cost (and that payment is a loss to the individuals) so that nobody has to pay the worst case cost. Ideally, nobody need make a profit on insurance.
In this case, I believe it is reasonable to conclude that if these two friends had engaged in sex in their more familiar surroundings, no lamps would have fallen and injured the woman, thus it is at least plausible the injury was a consequence of unfamiliar surroundings, which themselves were the result of travelling for work. I would say the same about the trucker that slipped in the shower; although the hotel should also be held liable in that case.
Insurance has been characterizex as socializing losses while privatising gains. As opposed to socialized medicine for one aspect of insured life where the costs are controlled and no privite gain by an interloper insurance company. In Canada where a person needs medical attention they get it despite the cause. In America you get medical attention on your own dime. Someone else’s dime comes in when one has insurance or when one has public insurance such as medicaid.
In this case of a porking injury, if we just focus on the medical costs and not pain and suffering or lost wages due to being off work, then in Canada this would be a no brainer. But in America it is a brainless tangle over who porked who, on whose dime, for what purpose, in whose bed, at what hour, on whose moral outrage, against what moral and religious caveat, hopefully not on Good Friday and certainly not on Easter Sunday.
Now, I submitted the issue to the dog pack and they were unanimous in their howls of approval for socializing losses and eliminating private gain. Unanimous except for the poodle who is a Baptist and is against workers comp altogether, for man or beast or women doing back work.
Just a dog talkin.
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