A public servant has lost a six-year battle for workers compensation for being struck by a falling light while having vigorous sex in a motel during a work trip.
In a majority ruling, the High Court has found the woman was not engaged in a work activity at the time of the accident.
The decision clarifies an earlier one by the Federal Court, which seemed to view the employer liable for almost any injury suffered while absent from the usual place of work.
The case dates back to November 2007 when the unnamed woman, then in her late 30s and employed in the human relations section of a commonwealth government agency, was staying overnight in a motel room in Nowra, booked by her employer.
While there, she met a friend for dinner and they returned to her room for sex.
During sex, a glass light fitting above the bed was pulled from its mount.
The fitting struck her on the nose and mouth causing injuries, for which she was treated in hospital, and a subsequent psychological injury.
She initially applied to the federal workplace safety body Comcare for workers compensation.
It accepted but then revoked consideration of her case.
She then turned to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and the case worked its way through the legal system right up to the High Court which yesterday allowed Comcare’s appeal against the decision of the full bench of the Federal Court which approved unspecified compensation. AAP