Friskiness not in the Scope of Employment

December 16, 2010 ( - A public servant injured while she was having sex on a work trip can't get any workers' compensation.

The Australian Associated Press reports that the woman was told she should have let her employer know she planned to get frisky if she wanted to be able to claim worker’s compensation. The woman suffered a nose injury and damaged teeth when a glass light fitting came away from the wall as she was having sex with a man in a country town.  

Activities pursued in a hotel room “in the ordinary purview of human life” should be compensatable,” the women’s barrister, Leo Gray, told a hearing last month, according to the news report. “If it happens at the place the employer has encouraged you to be for the evening, and doesn’t involve gross misconduct or self-harm, why shouldn’t it be?”  

However, counsel for the work safety agency Comcare told the appeal hearing “a frolic of the applicant’s own” could only result in compensation in certain circumstances. “If it is a quintessentially private activity it is not fair that taxpayers pay for the consequences of that activity,” the attorney said.  

While sleeping, showering and using the toilet are incidental to work “having sex is a different kettle of fish”, he added. “If they wanted to be protected by worker’s compensation they would need to let their employer know.” 

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) upheld Comcare’s original decision not to award compensation, but refused to publish its reasons because it “received concrete evidence that the applicant may act on suicidal tendencies if the reasons were made public.”