From the construction worker who falls and injures his back to the coal miner who develops “black lung”, workman’s compensation is there to cover medical expenses and lost wages. Even white collar workers who develop carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) from the repetitive motions of typing can file for reimbursement of surgery and lost time on the job. But what if that repetitive motion was not typing, and what if that employee was not in a traditional office setting?
Such is the case of Marci Lyn Deutsch, a phone sex operator in Florida, who filed a claim in 1999 with Fort Lauderdale Workers Compensation lawyers against her employers CFP Enterprises after developing CTS. Deutsch claims that she developed CTS in both her hands from repetitive self-gratification which she engaged in up to seven times a day while speaking with customers. Deutsch had initially sought “$267 a week, based on her salary of $400, plus $30,000 to cover her medical bills after neurosurgery to relieve the pain in her hands” from her employer. However, the final settlement was minimal, due in part to retired judge Joseph Hand telling her that “she’d have a tough time” winning.
As ridiculous as the claim may be at first glance, under further scrutiny Deutsch’s claim warrants respect and opens up a much broader argument in regards to injury from legal professions that may not be fully embraced by the public. Should an adult film star who is injured while performing on the set be any less entitled than any other entertainment performer? This communication could even go so far as to suggest that prostitution should be legal, so that the sex workers would have access to legal rights and benefits, such as in Australia and Amsterdam.
Admittedly, it is a difficult discussion, but one in which the focus and outcome should be in the legal interest of all parties involved and the greater protection of the population, and not fall into an argument in which one’s “moral compass” is the mediator.