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A young woman in Australia was sent by her employer to a country town. She checked into a motel, and set up a meeting with a male friend, who happened to live in the town. They had a nice dinner, and then went back to the woman’s motel room. There, they proceeded to have sex; and while this was going on—her male friend testified that they were “going hard” at it and were “rolling around”—a glass light fixture above the bed was somehow pulled from its mount. It fell on the woman, and she suffered injuries to her nose and mouth; she also (she claimed) suffered from a depression as a result, which forced her to stop work. She put in a claim for workers’ compensation, which her employer resisted.

Should the woman recover damages for her injuries? That was the question posed to a series of courts in Australia who heard her claim. Eventually, the woman won her case. This result might seem odd to some readers, but in fact it is consistent with American workers’ compensation law. In this column, we’ll examine her case, the cases of some others whose injuries on the job were arguably connected to sexual dalliances; and the reasons why the worker, in such cases, sometimes wins and sometimes loses.



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