Is hooking up on Tinder whilst on a work trip a problem? Well, it depends. It depends on what happens and for whom it might be a problem.
The act itself may be a problem for someone you are already in a contractual agreement with, like your wife or husband, but does your boss really care?
Like most, I am incredibly curious about the two headline cases of workers compensation vs sexual encounters on a work trip.
In the 2013 French case where a worker died whilst having sex, but not in his own hotel or with his own wife, it was ruled by the French court that sexual intercourse is “as natural as eating” and is therefore covered under French Workers Compensation laws.
A similar 2007 case in Australia where sexual intercourse resulted in facial and psychological injuries to a worker had a different outcome. Sex activity was ultimately deemed a non-essential activity and therefore the incident occurred “out of hours” and was not covered by Workers Compensation. Despite the final outcome in favour of the organisation, there is still the matter of costs associated with defending the claim and multiple appeals to obtain the ruling.
Both cases were discussed in a recent article which warrants a read: French employer forced to pay for employees ‘death by sex’.
When a claim is made, or a complaint lodged (not all sexual encounters are consensual) one of the first steps is to establish what happened. But establishing what happened is not as straightforward as it might appear. We are not investigating what happened to tell the story as a complete replica of the events, every investigation is conducted with a purpose in mind. The purpose dictates what information is included in the story, and what information is left out.
This selective process conducted by the investigator is not intended to be biased, rather to focus the information gathering on the relevant and important facts that inform the decision-makers of what action to take, if any.
Is the activity covered under workers compensation? Was the company negligent? Was the employee in breach of the code of conduct? In some more interesting cases, does the company directors liability insurance cover the events?
And every purpose has a different set of questions. Sure, they all include a version of ‘What happened’ in a factual sense, but in the accounts provided by individuals, there are lots of little questions. The answers to which may never be considered necessary until years later in an appeal.
The art of investigation comes from anticipating when the details are important and which issues may become contentious.
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