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19.1.4 Case example


In Kennedy v Telstra Corporation Limited (1995), the applicant was assaulted at night while returning to the hotel where he was staying in the course of his employment. He contended that he would not have been injured but for his employment. The Federal Court rejected this proposition, discussing the required causal link in the following terms:

I do not think that the requirement of this provision has been met in the present circumstances. On a common sense and practical application of the 'but for' test, there is no causal nexus between the employment or the performance by the employee of the duties or functions of his employment and the assault. The assault arose from the confrontation of two groups late at night which was not related in any way to the performance by the applicant of the duties or functions in his employment.

However, liability was accepted on another basis because he was in the course of employment at the time of the assault.