The Federal Government's workplace injury insurer, Comcare, has won the right to ask the High Court, where does work finish and sexy time begin?
This is not a joke. Lawyers will seriously be debating whose responsibility it is when someone is injured in a passionate/mindless sex act while on a work trip.
As Folklaw reported this time last year, one naughty public servant took her government employer to the Queensland Federal Court over a 2007 incident when she was sent out of town for work reasons.
While there, she and a male friend returned to her motel room after work and had sex, during which a glass light fitting above the bed came loose from its mount and fell onto her face, injuring her.
She shamelessly lodged a compensation claim but it was refused (WorkCover probably thought she was joking). So she took the case to the Federal Court, which found in her favour.
“The Federal Court view seemed to be that if you are assigned to work away from home, then your workers compensation cover should include the routine and normal aspects of life. Sexual activity would be considered part of that,” said Brisbane compensation lawyer Mark O’Connor.
Um, does that also mean employers are liable for partying, smoking, drinking and bad dancing accidents during a work trip? If so, Folklaw will be hitting the boss up after its #LawAwards hangover.
O’Connor confirmed: “If you are on a business trip and are injured during a lawful activity, then you are covered.”
“It’s no different from slipping in the shower or falling down the stairs,” he said.
Comcare appealed unsuccessfully last December but has now won the right to take the matter to the High Court and ask, once again, how can it possibly be held responsible for employees’ hazardous canoodling outside of work hours?
Folklaw can only imagine the graphic details that will be canvassed to determine the rigour of romping in proportion to the level of proper and safe accommodation.
The most problematic thing in this case could well be the lawyers keeping a straight face.
O’Connor said the case is unlikely to open the floodgates to similar claims (what a surprise!) but he expects the High Court to answer the awkward question for employers - what is their liability if staff are injured while getting it on, out of town?
Once again, Folklaw is clenching in anticipation to find out if this sad tale has a happy ending ...