Public servant gets workplace compo for sex injury

A public servant injured while having sex in a motel on a work trip is entitled to compensation after the Federal Court dismissed an appeal against her.

The federal government workplace safety body, Comcare, had appealed against the court's decision that the woman was "in the course of her employment" when she was injured while having sex with an acquaintance in a motel room.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had challenged the rejection of her workers' compensation claim for facial and psychological injuries suffered when a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was having sex in November 2007.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) upheld Comcare's rejection of the claim and found the woman was engaged in a private activity when she was injured.

But this decision was set aside by the court's Justice John Nicholas last April.

"If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would have been entitled to compensation, even though it could not be said her employer induced or encouraged that activity," Justice Nicholas said at the time.

Comcare appealed that decision, but in a judgment handed down last week, the court's full bench found Justice Nicholas was correct to declare the woman was entitled to compensation.

The woman was in her late thirties at the time of the incident and employed in the human relations section of a commonwealth government agency.

Her employer sent her to spend the night at a NSW country motel ahead of a departmental meeting the next day.

That evening, she met her friend for dinner before they had sex, during which the light fitting dislodged from its mount and fell on her.

In his statement, the man said they were "going hard" and he did not know if they bumped the light or if 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.

The appeal was dismissed with costs.

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