A man who accused his former boss of repeatedly breaking wind towards him has had his bullying case dismissed.
David Higst, 56, said supervisor Greg Short would fart behind him and walk away “five or six times a day”, and was seeking damages of 1.8 million Australian dollars (£970,000) from his former employer, Construction Engineering.
However, the Victoria state Court of Appeal in Melbourne upheld a Supreme Court judge’s ruling that even if engineer David Hingst’s allegations were true, flatulence did not necessarily constitute bullying.
Undeterred, Mr Hingst said he would take his case to the High Court, Australia’s final court of appeal.
Mr Hingst worked for Construction Engineering as a contract administrator from May 2008 until April 2009 when his job was terminated.
He told the court that he had been forced to move 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.
Mr Hingst “alleged that Mr Short would regularly break wind on him or at him, Mr Short thinking this to be funny”, the two appeal court judges wrote in their ruling.
Mr Hingst said he would spray Mr Short with deodorant and call 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.
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Mr Short told the court he did not recall breaking wind in Mr Hingst’s office, “but I may have done it once or twice”.
Mr Hingst also accused his former supervisor of being abusive over the phone, using profane language and taunting him.
The appeal judges found Mr Hingst “put the issue of Mr Short’s flatulence to the forefront” of his bullying case, arguing that “flatulence constituted assaults”.
Construction Engineering argued his job was terminated because of a downturn in construction work due to the global financial crisis in late 2008.
The court found that Mr Short did not bully or harass Mr Hingst and Construction Engineering was not found to have been negligent.