Yep, you read that right. A construction engineering company recently went to court on this matter after a worker claimed his supervisor was bullying him by “lifting his bum and breaking wind.”
The claim originated in Melbourne, Australia where worker David Hingst claimed his supervisor Greg Short would regularly “lift his bum and fart” either at him or directly on him. Mr Hingst described that he found this “humiliating and disgusting.”
But, Mr Short denied these claims. Instead stating that he felt “embarrassed”, and that he might have accidentally done it “once or twice”. A former worker Philip Hamilton did support Mr Hingst’s story though recalling in court that the boss had ‘frequent flatulence’. However, he did not term this bullying. Instead, he labeled it just “typical banter or mucking around.”
Mr Hamilton also explained to the court why he thought that himself and Mr Hingst had differing opinions. He claimed that this was due to Mr Hingst’s German descent, adding: “Us Australians are sort of brought up you sort of accept it or think oh it’s just – that’s what happens.”
Mr Hingst was not happy with his supervisor’s farting though regularly protesting by saying things such as, “you’re not serious?” On one occasion, the worker even sprayed deodorant at Mr Short and refused to share lifts with him claiming that this was because he was “Mr Stinky.”
To this, Mr Short stated he was an “idiot”.
Mr Hingst claimed that this ‘harassment‘ caused him both physical and psychiatric injuries including irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. Therefore, he felt he was entitled to $1,805,138 in damages.
The trial on this matter lasted eighteen days with dozens of witnesses present. Justice Zammit ruled though that the supervisor’s farting was “an offence that has its origins in cultural difference.”
Adding that the flatulence of Mr Short was unlikely to have caused the amount of distress and intimidation that Mr Hingst was claiming. She instead concluded that Mr Hingst’s dismissal and domestic stress was likely to have caused his psychiatric injuries. Not the ‘bullying’ of Mr Short.
So what do you think of this? Let us know in the comments below.