News & Views

Injury sustained inter course of employment

BY John Wilson
Employment law
BG Purple

A woman is suing her employer, ComCare (the Australian government’s workplace safety organisation!), for injuries sustained during some extra curricular activities whilst away on business.

During an assignation with a non-work acquaintance, the federal government employee suffered facial injuries and a "consequent psychiatric injury" after a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed.  She maintains that her employer, which sent her away from home on business and booked and paid for her motel so she could attend an early morning meeting, is liable for her injuries as they were sustained "during the course of her employment". 

Rather unsurprisingly ComCare disagrees.  It argues that such beaviour is not a "necessary activity" for a motel room in the same way that showering or sleeping is and that it was "not obviously involved" in their requirement that she stay overnight.  They further argue that “neither legal authority nor common sense” could find that the injury was sustained during the course of her employment. 

Whether the Australian courts feel the same remains to be seen but one thing is for certain, this case will do no harm to future federal government recruitment campaigns.

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