Man 'bullied' by farting colleague seeks $1.8m payout
A Melbourne engineer who claims his colleague repeatedly farted nearby and “thrusted his bum” at him, is hoping his bullying claim is successful on appeal.
David Hingst, 56, had sought $1.8 million in a suit against his former employer Construction Engineering, but a judge blasted the case out of the Supreme Court last year, finding there was no bullying.
Mr Hingst’s appeal came before the Court of Appeal on Monday, when he said “flatulence was a form of bullying”, and his ex-colleague Greg Short was a serial farter.
“I would be sitting with my face to the wall and he would come into the room, which was small and had no windows,” Mr Hingst said after the hearing.
“He would fart behind me and walk away. He would do this five or six times a day.”
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The structural engineer, who previously lived and trained in Germany for 20 years, said Mr Short – at the time his manager – had also abused him over the phone and at times would taunt him with gestures.
“He thrusted his bum at me while he’s at work,” Mr Hingst told the panel of judges.
But the appeal judges also heard Mr Hingst had called his colleague “Mr Stinky” on occasion.
“And you sprayed deodorant at him,” Justice Phillip Priest said.
In any case, Justice Priest said farts were not the key issue in Mr Hingst’s original claim, as it had focused more on the phone calls.
But Mr Hingst said the flatulence had caused him “severe stress” and should still be taken into account.
He claimed Mr Short’s behaviour was part of a conspiracy to get rid of him, and says his time at Construction Engineering caused him psychiatric injuries.
Engineer ‘didn’t get a fair trial’ against bullying claims
Mr Hingst, who has represented himself throughout the trial and appeal, is seeking leave to appeal on several grounds.
He claims he didn’t get a fair trial as he felt under pressure from Supreme Court Justice Rita Zammit when questioning witnesses, and felt the judge was biased against him.
But Justice Priest said the trial judge seemed to show “remarkable latitude” to Mr Hingst during the 18-day proceeding.
“The very distinct impression I get is you were given every opportunity to put your case,” he said.
The Court of Appeal judges will deliver their ruling on the appeal on Friday.
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