As BBC reports, the woman was hit by a glass light fitting above her bed while having sex at a motel in New South Wales in 2007.
She asked for a compensation for facial and psychological injuries, but it was initially rejected. However the judge ruled she had suffered the injuries during the course of her employment.
“If the applicant had been injured while playing a game of cards in her motel room she would have been entitled to compensation, even though it could not be said that her employer induced or encouraged her to engage in such an activity,” Justice John Nicholas said.
“In the absence of any misconduct or an intentionally self-inflicted injury, the fact that the applicant was engaged in sexual activity rather than some other lawful recreational activity does not lead to any different result,” he added.
The woman, whose name can’t be revealed for legal reasons, was required to travel to a country town by her employer, the Human Relations Section of the Commonwealth Government agency.
She arranged to meet a male friend there who lived in the town. They went to a restaurant for dinner and at about 10pm or 11pm returned to the motel room where they had sex that resulted in her injury.
The male friend said in his statement at the time that they were “going hard” and he did not 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.”
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, during the hearing, the woman’s barrister, Leo Grey, said sex was “an ordinary incident of life” commonly undertaken in a motel room at night, just like sleeping or showering.
Mr Grey cited previous cases, when compensation was granted to a worker who slipped in the shower at a hotel. The barrister added there was no suggestion the woman had engaged in any misconduct and noted the absence of any rule that employees should not have anyone else in their room.
However, Andrew Berger, for ComCare, insisted that sex was not “an ordinary incident of an overnight stay like showering, sleeping or eating”. He went on and added that while sexual activity was an ordinary incident, it was not necessary.
In his statement, the woman’s sexual partner said they were “going hard”. ”I do not know if we bumped the light or it just fell off,” he said. “I think she was on her back when it happened but I was not paying attention because we are rolling around.”
Last year, the woman was granted a suppression order on her name after she told the court she would withdraw her suit if she was publicly identified.
Justice Nicholas ruled “the administration of justice would be prejudiced unless an order is made protecting the identity of the applicant”.
He took into account evidence the woman was suffering from depression and anxiety.
“I am satisfied that this is not a case where the application for [non-publication] orders is motivated by simple desire to avoid embarrassment or ridicule,” he said.