In general, the rules of workers’ compensation still apply to people in Philadelphia when they are on a business trip. Since they are travelling as part of their job duties, any injuries they suffer while on the trip could result in workers’ compensation damages.
An unusual workers’ compensation case from another country demonstrates how an injury sustained during a business trip does not necessarily have to be directly connected to the performance of one’s work functions to qualify for benefits. The woman in the case was badly injured while having sex in a hotel room.
According to news reports, she was engaged in sexual activity with a male friend when a light fixture broke off from the ceiling or wall above the bed and landed on her. Glass from the fixture injured her nose and mouth. As a result of her injuries, the woman developed severe depression and had to leave her job working for the government.
She filed a claim for workers’ compensation but her claim was denied. The administrative court that heard the claim ruled that she was not entitled to compensation because her injury occurred when she was not performing tasks “incident of an overnight stay” such as bathing or eating. It also found that the employer had not condoned the sex, which the tribunal claimed was a necessary component of a successful claim.
But on appeal, the court rejected that contention. Whether the employer had approved of her activity was irrelevant, the appellate court said. The point was that she was there as part of her work duties and thus deserving of workers’ compensation. That ruling was upheld by that country’s top court earlier in December.
While the circumstances of this case may seem amusing, the fact is that the woman was injured while on a trip ordered by her employer. It would be interesting to see if a similar result would occur in Pennsylvania.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, “Australian Court: Worker’s Comp Cover Sex Mishap,” Rod McGuirk, Dec. 17, 2012