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Sydney - In a case that gives a whole new meaning to playing away from home, an Australian civil servant injured by a light fitting while having sex in a motel room during a business trip has won a five-year fight for worker's compensation.
The legal battle centred on whether the woman, who cannot be named, was technically working when she invited a male friend back to her motel in the town of Nowra, south of Sydney. While the pair were having sex, the light fitting was pulled off its mount and fell on her, lacerating her nose and mouth.
The woman, who required hospital treatment and had to give up her job after suffering depression and anxiety, sought compensation for the physical and psychological injuries.
Her claim was dismissed by Comcare, the federal government's workplace insurance body, on the grounds that the passionate interlude in November 2007 was unconnected with her work.
However, earlier in 2012 Justice John Nicholas ruled that she would have been entitled to compensation had she been injured while playing cards in her room - and that this situation was no different. On Monday, following the third appeal in the case, the Federal Court upheld that judgment.
It is not clear what sum the woman, in her late thirties, will receive - nor, as Justice Nicholas observed, is it clear how the oyster light fitting was smashed. In a statement, her friend said he was unsure whether “we bumped the light or it just fell off … I was not paying attention because we were rolling around”.
Lawyers for Comcare had argued that having sex was “not an ordinary incident of an overnight stay, like showering, sleeping [or] eating”. - The Independent