Weekly Snapshot Issue: 21 – 22 March 2019

Case we’ve reviewed…

Legislation provides that workers who sustain an injury arising out of or in the course of the employee’s employment are entitled to compensation. It sounds simple enough; however there have been a series of cases that  test the boundaries of the terms “injury arising out of” and “in the course of”. For example, in one case, a worker was awarded damages for suffering injuries after a bird attacked her while she was standing outside the shopping centre where she worked. In another case, the Supreme Court of South Australia awarded compensation to a woman who contracted polyarthritis after insects bit her in work-approved accommodation.

Perhaps most infamous however is the High Court case of Comcare v PVYW [2013] HCA 41. This case involved a Commonwealth Government Agency worker who was required to attend a regional office to observe budget review and undertake training. Her employer had booked a nearby motel for her to stay overnight. During the course of the evening, the worker and an acquaintance engaged in (presumably pretty wild) sexual intercourse which led to an overhead glass light fitting being pulled from its mount and striking the worker on her nose and mouth.

The worker sought compensation for the injuries sustained and subsequent psychological injury.

Interestingly, the AAT found that the worker’s injuries were unrelated to her employment. The worker however was successful when the matter was heard by a primary judge and the Full Court of the Federal Court. Her employer appealed to the High Court.

The court referenced the precedent case of Hatzimanolis which sets out that the injured employee must establish two elements: that the injury occurred at a place that he or she was required to be and that the activity from which the injury arose was induced or encouraged by the employer, or was impliedly accepted.  

The worker argued that the relevant question was not whether she was induced or encouraged by her employer to engage in the activity that led to the injury, but rather that she was just required to be present at the place where she was injured. The High Court found her argument lacking and ruled that the scope of activities engaged by the worker must be somehow incidental to the workers’ employment.

In summary, the High Court found that compensation could not be granted as this workers’ hanky panky was not attributable to her employment nor was it behaviour that was induced or encouraged by her employer.

Essay we’re reading…

Made famous in the mainstream after Beyoncé played audio narrated by the author, in her 2013 song ‘Flawless’, We should all be feminist is a book-length essay written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche.  

She writes about the effects of sexism and its inequalities on both genders. 

“We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them… We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability… But by far the worst thing we do to males- by making them feel they have to be hard- is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is. And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller”.  

Podcast we’ve enjoy…

For the law nerds that can’t satisfy their appetites through the myriad of legal resources available online; we invite you to binge on the ABC Law Report podcast which provides jargon-free stories on important cases, law reform and miscarriages of justice and legal culture. The episodes are quite varied and discuss contemporary matters from using dead men’s sperm to father children to the effects of appearing in court via audio visual link.

Site we’re scouring…

If you feel like procrastinating with a touch of nostalgia… we have the site for you (lay off the retail therapy and afterpay for a minute!). Admittedly another pretty nerdy activity (this is to be a private viewing… maybe don’t enthusiastically mention it at your next dinner with friends; except maybe those website builders and IT buffs)… The National Library of Australia has collated and archived web page snapshots and collections saved from 1998 to 2019. Thankfully; we’ve laid off the bright fluro backgrounds, interactive everything, moving icons and flashing banners. Check out former Prime Minister John Howard’s site for a giggle.

Fascinating mini-d0co…

Overnight in 2005, the beachfront at Yamba was literally whipped into a “cappuccino coast”, as if the universe had turned the ocean into a giant foamy cap. Check out this cool phenomenon.

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