An Australian engineer who claimed his former supervisor repeatedly farted on him has lost his appeal.
David Hingst, 56, accused Greg Short of coming into his office and deliberately farting ‘five or six times a day’ during his time at Melbourne company Construction Engineering.
He sought £980,000 in damages but last year the Supreme Court of Victoria ruled that flatulence did not necessarily constitute bullying.
He then opted to take the case to the High Court, Australia’s final court of appeal. Mr Hingst told the court that he had moved out of a communal office space to avoid supervisor Greg Short’s flatulence.
He alleged that Mr Short would then enter his small, windowless office several times a day and break wind ‘on him or at him’ because he thought it ‘to be funny’.
The engineer said he then would spray Mr Short with deodorant and called him ‘Mr Stinky’.
‘He would fart behind me and walk away. He would do this five or six times a day,’ Mr Hingst said outside court. Mr Short told the court he did not recall breaking wind in Mr Hingst’s office but ‘may have done it once or twice’.
Mr Hingst also accused his former supervisor of being abusive over the phone, using profane language and criticising his work performance.
He argued that he had been bullied in the workplace until his job as a contract administrator was terminated in April 2009.
But Construction Engineering said his employment ended because of a downturn in construction work due to the global financial crisis in late 2008.
The Victoria state Court of Appeal upheld the Supreme Court judge’s ruling that Mr Short did not bully or harass Mr Hingst.
Appeal judges found that Mr Hingst ‘put the issue of Mr Short’s flatulence to the forefront’ of his bullying case, arguing that ‘flatulence constituted assaults’.
The court ruled that he had failed to establish that Construction Engineering had been negligent.