Small business owners and employers everywhere be warned, the duty of care owed to your employees has seriously heated up.
After a five year legal battle the Federal Court has ruled for compensation in favour of a woman who was injured while having sex on a work trip.
The claim was made for facial and psychological injuries suffered after a light fitting came away from the wall above the bed in her motel room as she was having sex.
In the sexual precedent setting ruling, now finalised after a lengthy third appeal by the woman’s former employer, the courts ruled in the employee's favour saying that in the absence of any misconduct, or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the woman's injuries were sustained during "the course of her employment”.
Ironically the woman was a former employee of workplace health insurer Comcare.
The woman won the ruling largely based on the fact that her injuries were suffered while she was in the motel room her employer had encouraged her to stay in.
Even though they might have been the cause of the incident too, with the male friend saying in his statement that at the time they were "going hard" and he didn’t know if they bumped the light or it just fell off.
"I think she was on her back when it happened but I was not paying attention because we are rolling around."
A considerable step in workplace law, the unique case significantly broadens the scope of what is deemed to be "during the course of employment".
So take note, because it seems you’re now liable even if your employees are on the job, while on the job.
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