Australian Justice John Nicholas ruled today that an unnamed woman in her late thirties, who was injured by a light fixture while having sex on a business trip in November 2007, would indeed be entitled to workers' compensation. ComCare, the Australian government workplace-safety body, and The Administrative Appeals Tribunal both denied her request initially, finding that getting busy on a business trip was "not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay like showering, sleeping, eating or returning to the place of residence from a social occasion elsewhere in the vicinity. Rather she was involved in a recreational activity which her employer had not induced, encouraged or countenanced."
The woman — who was granted a name-suppression order after convincing the judge that she suffered from depression and anxiety — had been sent by her employer to New South Wales to do exciting things like budget reviews and meeting local staff. While there, she made plans with a casual male friend to meet at a motel. Fast-forward to a glass light fixture hitting the woman in the face, causing injuries to her nose, mouth, and a tooth.
Her partner, in a statement, said they had been "going hard." Details appear to be fuzzy: "I do not know if we bumped the light or it just fell off," the guy said. "I think she was on her back when it happened but I was not paying attention because we were rolling around."
Here's why Justice Nicholas thought the woman should be compensated for her non-work-related, recreational injury:
"If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room, she would be entitled to compensation even though it could not be said that her employer induced or encouraged her to engage in such an activity."
"In the absence of any misconduct or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the fact that the applicant was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity while in her motel room does not lead to any different result."
Lesson: if you're ever Down Under and planning on having dirty, motel business-trip sex, you might as well go all out, and get it on under a large chandelier. There might be a payday in it for you.