Can regular farting equal bullying? An appeals court in Australia will have to decide based on a nearly $1.3 million lawsuit filed in 2017 by the former employee of a construction company, who refers to his ex-boss as “Mr. Stinky.”
David Hingst, a 56-year-old former engineer of Melbourne’s Construction Engineering, says supervisor Greg Short would enter Hingst’s small, windowless office to fart “five or six times a day” as part of a larger conspiracy to terminate his employment. Before Hingst was eventually laid off, “I would be sitting with my face to the wall and he would come into the room – fart behind me and walk away,” the engineer says, adding he eventually sprayed deodorant at his superior.
“I may have done it once or twice, maybe – but I can’t recall,” Short told the Supreme Court of Victoria last year. He said if he had farted on or near Hingst, it was not with bad intentions. The court also heard of alleged phone calls in which Short called Hingst “an idiot,” but ultimately Justice Rita Zammit dismissed the suit last April, noting there was “some inappropriate behavior in the office, including passing wind,” but that it “would not necessarily amount to bullying.”
Hingst appealed, and the Court of Appeal heard his claims of harassment, psychiatric trauma, and “severe stress” on Monday. “[Short] thrusted his bum at me while he’s at work,” he told the judges. A ruling is expected this week.