On Friday, an appeals court in Australia dismissed a case that even Hollywood could not have dreamt up. The original complaint and claim were brought by an engineer who alleged that he was repeatedly the victim of his former supervisor breaking wind in his direction.
The Supreme Court judges ruling that was subsequently upheld by the Victoria state Court of Appeal stated that flatulence was not necessarily seen as a case of bullying. In effect, they ruled that engineer David Hingst’s allegations just did not have a foot to stand on in a legal sense.
Hingst was not at all happy with the ruling and stated that he would indeed be taking his case to Australia’s final court of appeals, the High Court. According to the original case filing, 56-year-old Hingst was seeking compensation to the tune of 1.8 million Australian dollars (approximately 1.3 million US) in damages. Those damages were filed against Construction Engineering, Hingst’s former Melbourne employer.
In his testimony in the case, Hingst stated had moved out of a communal office space shared with his supervisor, Greg Short’s, to escape his flatulence. After moving to another office space, Hingst testified in court that Short would visit his small, windowless office and break wind several times each day.
Two appeals court judges stated in their ruling “Hingst alleged that Mr. Short would regularly break wind on him or at him, Mr. Short thinking this to be funny.” Hingst also testified that he would spray deodorant at Short, as well as referring to his supervisor as Mr. Stinky. Short, on the other hand, stated in court that to his knowledge he didn’t break wind in Hingst’s office.
Hingst also stated that Short was abusive over the phone, and frequently used profane language In an attempt to taunt him. When the ruling came down, the court found that Short did not in any way bully or harass Hingst. Hingst still maintains that until his employment was terminated, he was bullied in the workplace.