back to article Aussie engineer accuses 'serial farter' supervisor of bullying, seeks $1.8m redress

Farting at work is a bigger taboo than discussing pay. The polite, who usually have crippling gas anxiety, will excuse themselves and let rip, but not before ensuring the toilet is empty and unlikely to have any additional guests while the deed is done. The brave will go through a series of anal acrobatics to stealthily slip …

  1. james_smith Bronze badge

    Worked at a very disfunctional office where the giuy sat opposite me would loudly fart and burp all day long. Unsurprisingly he was single, and most likely a virgin.

    1. Kane Silver badge
      Boffin

      "Unsurprisingly he was single, and most likely a virgin."

      Not necessarily. Those of us who have been married a fair bit of time, we tend to lose the social...habits...of self control. It's to do with being particularly comfortable with those around you for long periods of time, and this can translate to the workplace.

      For example, when at home my wife will quite happily burp in front of me after a particularly enjoyable meal. However, she would turn an interesting shade of red if this were to happen in public.

    2. bigtreeman

      dutch oven

      You must be single, we regularly do the caring and sharing, or the dutch oven.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    What a stink over a bully!

    I hope that the court case clears the air.

  3. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Mushroom

    For a couple of years, I was on medication that gave me chronic wind so often, if I went out of the room, I'd never be at my desk. It was just air though, not some gastric nightmare. My co-worker used to get really annoyed though! (Hi Erik!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Similar issue here, various Auto-immune issues are causing a LOT of loud, but mostly innocuous windage - to which the wife shows outrage!!

      Go into the little girls room after one of HER visits though, and it it like a Mustard gas attack!!

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Coat

    Farts are Omnidirectional

    Although, I do like the phrase "someone farted in their specific direction." Call it fart pointing instead of finger pointing?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Farts are Omnidirectional

      Old joke - Queen Victoria farts in public and tries to blame a footman.

      QV: "Stop that at once my man!"

      F: "Certainly ma'am, which way did it go?"

      1. John H Woods

        Victorian Flatulence

        Queen Victoria at a meeting of European leaders

        Queen farts. Disraeli leaps to his feet and says "Excuse me ma'am, I humbly beg your pardon"

        "Quite alright, Sir" comes the reply. Disraeli sits and smirks smugly at the other two.

        Queen farts again. Determined not to be out-gentlemanned by Disraeli, Louis Napoleon III jumps up almost before the fart trails off, kicks Disraeli's chair from under him causing the latter to sprawls indignantly on the floor. The Frenchman makes a sweeping bow, an extravagant apology, and the Q not only says "Quite alright" but actually cracks a smile.

        Well, this isn't going down at all well with Otto von Bismarck who feels thoroughly outdone and increasingly embarrassed. The moment the Queen farts again, he leaps to his feet, waving his sword and shouts "Diesen - und die nächsten drei - übernimmt die deutsche Reichsregierung!"

      2. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

        Re: Farts are Omnidirectional

        Or

        "Oh, Majesty, you shouldn't have said a thing. I thought it was the horse."

      3. TedF

        Re: Farts are Omnidirectional

        Flatulence at grand banquet;

        "I say, you farted in front of my wife!"

        "I'm terribly sorry, I didn't realise it was her turn!"

    2. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Farts are Omnidirectional

      "I fart in your general direction"

    3. jmch Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Farts are Omnidirectional

      "someone farted in their specific direction."

      I'm not sure farts can be aimed very specifically. Hence <phony french accent> "I fart in your general direction" </python>

  5. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Cereal Farts

    I think someone involved in this case is full of gas.

    Too much sugar and not enough fibre there. Although, depending on the fibre involved, that could be reversed.

    One of my earlier colleagues was branded as a terrible cube mate due to his excessive gas. Horrible things were said about him by several members of the team. That was until he had to take several weeks off after having a large stretch of his colon removed due to illietis.

    Wait... I don't think I've *ever* heard of someone bullying a co-worker by 'farting in their general direction'. Are Aussies really really weird that way or is this something someone .... burped out their ass?

  6. Dwarf Silver badge

    No grounds to the legal action

    This just sounds like a lot of hot air to me.

  7. Bangem
    Coat

    guff

    what a load of hot air!

  8. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Crop dusting is an art.

  9. Wellyboot Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Strike a light!

    >>>Farting at work is a bigger taboo than discussing pay.<<< Even in Oz?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Strike a light!

      this whole thing reminds me of that 'Crepitation Contest' recording from the 40's or 50's (or at least some time before I was born) featuring Paul Boomer of Oz vs Lord Windesmear of UK [or something like that]

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Strike a light!

      Not in my experience.

  10. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge
    IT Angle

    To jump to a philosophical issue

    Can you prove it's actually wrong to fart in front of other folk? It's a socially-established taboo. Apes (from which we're descended from, as far as evolution knows) have no qualms doing this.

    There's no actual damage done, apart from the damage caused by breaking this taboo.

    If you want to tell me that others are disgusted by the smell, I'd reply that the fact that this smell is "disgusting" is a product of the taboo.

    (Icon: Where's the IT angle? It's an engineer raising the lawsuit)

    (As I started to write this, I chose the "Joke Alert" icon, but by the time I went to "Submit", I became serious about this).

    1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

      Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

      Farts are repulsive due to evolution favouring those that are repulsed by the idea of eating or handling poo. The mechanism is that poo eaters die of dysentery.

    2. AIBailey Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

      Just to be clear, nobody accurately claims that we're descended from apes. What's actually hypothesised is that humans and apes are ultimately descended from a common ancestor.

      1. Ship of Fools

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        In point of fact we are not only descended from apes, we are apes. Obviously we are not descended from any of the other modern apes. But the closest common ancestor would have been an ape. Humans belong to the family Hominidae (aka the Great Apes), together with the other modern apes. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominidae

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

      I'd reply that the fact that this smell is "disgusting" is a product of the taboo.

      I think that if everyone farted Chanel No5, or new-mown grass, there would be much less of a taboo.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        I once had chili for lunch at work, a big can of it, and sneaked a 'silent but deadly' one out an hour or two later, and a lady nearby [about 10 to 15 years older than me] smelled it and wondered what was cooking, "smells kinda good". I carefully avoided laughing...

        (yes, this really happened)

        normally my ass-gas clears the room. But, rarely, it will smell like what I ate.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        "if everyone farted Chanel No5"

        More like 'Chanel Number 2'

    4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

      And just how much of someone else's faecal matter would you like to consume?

      Where do you draw the line? Spread it on toast? A dollop in your tea? Or would you prefer to not even inhale someone else's shit?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        Googles [faecal matter transplant]... Nope, spreading it on toast is not an indicated delivery method.

        1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

          Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

          Just one word: Nutella

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        Spread it on toast?

        I believe you may be confusing it with Marmite. Easy mistake.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. JLV Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

      As a buddy once said, smell is unlike other non-proximity senses like sight and hearing. It works by your nose nerves coming into direct contact with microparticles of whatever you’re smelling.

      So if you’re smelling someone’s poo it’s literally because that’s what just wafted up your nose.

      Still keen on tolerance?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        I have never had a problem with the smell of either human farts or faeces - useful in my previous career as a nurse, and very helpful with twins' nappies. I actually find the smell quite comforting.

        Anonymous cos... you never know who is reading

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

      "If you want to tell me that others are disgusted by the smell, I'd reply that the fact that this smell is "disgusting" is a product of the taboo."

      That depends on the person doing the farting. Any number of reasons, from what they ate to their internal flora and fauna or illness can make some farts almost be classed as chemical weapons.

      If you've ever had to take the bowel cleaning concoction given out before have an endoscope shoved up your arse for an inspection, you will likely find that your internal flora and fauna can change composition quite drastically as it repopulates afterwards and can cause quite a change in your gas production and smell coefficient.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        Picolax? https://singletrackworld.com/2009/02/the-picolax-thread-returns/

        1. Jay 2

          Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

          The internet never forgets, which is handy as that thread is both informative and extremely funny!

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: To jump to a philosophical issue

        Or the explosive farting afterwords as you expell the gas.

        I pebbledashed the ward toilet. I was horrified and very apologetic.

        It seems they were used to it.

  11. Andytug
    Joke

    Was his mother a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries?

    Also, if we can sue a boss every time he talks out of his ar$e none of us will ever have to work again...….

    1. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Was his mother a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries?

      sueing ain’t the same thing as winning ;-)

  12. AIBailey Silver badge
    Pint

    So many euphemisms in a single article. It made me chuckle, and the author definitely deserves a beer or two.

  13. justaprogrammer
    Facepalm

    Antenna Engineer Contest

    An adjoining engineering group in a large aerospace firm consisting of antenna weenies would have "duels". Whoever felt one coming would run over to a colleague, sit on their lap and let it go. Most were unkept, single and socially inept.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Antenna Engineer Contest

      I wonder how often they misjudged and "followed through"?

    2. FrozenShamrock

      Re: Antenna Engineer Contest

      Similar thing at a former company. They would run into each others office, let it rip and then run out closing the door behind them to keep the goodness from escaping. At same company several of us were in an office when an unpopular engineer came in for a minute and then left. Just as he was leaving I let an SBD go which was promptly blamed by the others on the departed engineer, I kept quiet.

  14. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Coat

    Appropriate byline

    Mr. Currie.

  15. BThePrisoner

    ...drop an 'o'

    Hmm perhaps "botnotes" works here?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: ...drop an 'o'

      Tootnotes.

    2. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: ...drop an 'o'

      Bootynotes?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find that if one needs to let out an air biscuit at work it's best to walk past a colleague you don't like and cough loudly in case of noise so you don't get rumbled then nonchalantly walk off leaving the victim to bask in the aromatic glory and subsequent blame.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      ...leaving an incriminating trail behind you?

      Try Shreddies!

      (Yes, they are a real thing!)

  17. Persona Bronze badge

    A friend/colleague of mine came into my office through the open door. He shut the door, farted loudly, smiled, then left closing the door behind him. We had of course worked together a long time......

  18. adam payne Silver badge

    I've been in plenty of server rooms that have smelt like something died in there

    1. jake Silver badge

      From observation ...

      Server rooms that smell like something died in there smell that way because something died in there. Usually rats or mice under the raised floor, or occasionally in the HVAC ducting.

      I've run across bats in the space above the hanging ceiling a couple times, and a dead, rotting beehive in the space between walls. Once it was raccoons shitting in the valley between roof and dormer. Garbage fed raccoons[0] shit the most vile smelling shit I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Especially when fermenting nicely in the morning sun. It permeated about 1200 square feet of a modern, energy tight, air tight building. My solution was to staple anti-bird netting over that section of roof after hosing it off ... Took almost a week to figure out where it was coming from, and four or five days for the smell to go away after I relocated the 'coon latrine.

      [0] That's pretty much every raccoon living close to humans. We are a filthy, wasteful bunch as a whole ...

      1. Jos V

        Re: From observation ...

        I've had the pleasure of doing work for a customer at a data center near Melbourne.

        It was pretty much squeezed in between a landfill and a huge cow hide processing (not sure, tanning, or leather producing) factory.

        In the nights, when the air calmed down, the A/C would suck in all these lovely smells. Enough to make you gag all the while there. It did make for more speedy installation and testing jobs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: From observation ...

          Brings back memories of the "Burnhouse" animal waste plant outside Lisburn in N Ireland. There were days when you daren't drive past that place with the car window open if the wind was blowing in the wrong direction. I was in their yard once, on business, when a lorry came in. It was the same sort of lorry that you see delivering sand or gravel to building sites, but this one backed into a corner of the yard, tipped up, and unloaded tons of animal carcasses & other waste from abattoirs. I have no idea how the people who worked there every day coped with that smell. Long since closed, thank goodness.

  19. Johnny Canuck

    Younger days

    I once returned to our work site (an enclosed space) first after lunch. I let rip and immediately realized my error. The enclosed space quickly became saturated with a thick gag-inducing stench (I'd been drinking the night before). Not wanting to be blamed for such a foul odor I quickly left the site and hid around the corner. My four workmates returned from lunch and walked right into our workspace, only to come running out moments later exclaiming about the stench and blaming each other. A few minutes later I joined them to innocently ask what the problem was. I still chuckle to myself whenever I remember this.

    1. vogon00

      Re: Younger days

      And on a similar note, I offer this :-

      Many moons ago, I found myself in an ascending lift with a colleague on the way to 'officer country' on the top floor...and needed to expel some (shall we say 'well matured') arse gas. Always looking for the opportunity to provide a little levity and remembering the 'Revenge Of The Pink Panther' scene, I did the (well known?) thing of extending my index finger, ready to be pulled.

      The colleague was completely perplexed by my offer and had to be prompted to pull the finger. Thanks to the degree of trust present combined with ignorance, he did so - at which point I let rip, with a truly evil (So I was told) smile on my face.

      The effect in the confined space can best be described as concentrated and pungent, leading to not altogether unwarranted coughing by both of us. A few deep breaths later ("To clear the air faster"), the hilarity set in.... right up to the point where the door opened and we were faced with the lady head of division, obviously waiting to descend in 'our' lift.

      A quick sidelong glance at each other, plus knowing the lady in question, convinced us that the fastest 'exit' possible was the way to go, so we said our hellos and *very* quickly set off, with the intention of putting as many sets of double fire-doors between us and the still reeking steel-box-on-cables as possible. We had only managed one set of doors before the sound of a female in 'nasal distress' started.. unfortunately at diminishing volume - meaning she was in the closed, descending lift cabin.

      With typical restraint, the lady concerned said nothing immediately or directly, but enquiries were obviously made as I found myself doing a lot more of the the onerous engineering jobs about the place for a month or so. Still worth it though! (Wasn't a tall building - Bex calculated the punishment tariff was 1 week/floor).

      [Just in case anyone from the old salt mine still remembers this, the 3 actors in this particular tragedy were me, Bex and Linda].

  20. mad_dr

    Some of the behaviours in the article are bad enough but the crown for fart-based psychological warfare must surely go to the "Cuckoo Fart", defined by the medical journal "Viz Profanisaurus" as follows:

    "n. The act of dropping one's hat in the presence of another person in such a manner that they believe the resulting miasma to be their own dirty work."

    On a personal note, since having my entire colon unceremoniously yanked out through a hole in my abdomen this time last year (March 28th), my own nether emissions have increased two-fold in terms of quantity but, mercifully, have reduced in robustness to almost zero. Something about the lack of a playground for those gut bacteria to thrive in.

    (As an aside, the comments and articles in el Reg were one of the few things that made me chuckle while confined to a hospital bed, so thanks, folks.)

  21. Scott 26
    Mushroom

    No MPatHG references?

    1. jake Silver badge

      I believe that little detail was covered in the OA.

  22. Mattknz1

    Recirculated air.

    A previous colleague used to take great delight in contaminating the server room immediately before the junior (myself for a period) was due to change a great multitude of backup tapes.

    A rather confined space with a great deal of very cold, smelly and recirculated air.

  23. Dr. Ellen
    Mushroom

    There ARE classical references!

    http://mentalfloss.com/article/66345/amazing-images-classic-japanese-fart-battles

    "From Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1868), there’s He-Gassen, or, “the fart war.” This centuries-old scroll, dated to approximately the 1840s, depicts an epic battle of gas between booty-baring men and women on horseback and on foot. Even a cat gets caught up in the fray at one point. The powerful gusts of human wind depicted can break through boards and traverse wide battlefields."

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: There ARE classical references!

      "This centuries-old scroll, dated to approximately the 1840s,"

      Point of order yer'onour! 1840 was less than two centuries ago.

      1. Dr. Ellen
        Headmaster

        Re: There ARE classical references!

        They were rounding off to the nearest century.

    2. veti Silver badge

      Re: There ARE classical references!

      Or for a real classic reference, here.

  24. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    weaponize it

    A flick of the Bic to light it up will stop all that nonsense with a bunch of burned off arse hair.

  25. MethaneMan

    My former coworker had talent in this area. Some of his work:

    https://www.soundboard.com/sb/Asspire

  26. Jon Smit
    Mushroom

    Vegans around the world

    Will be watching the outcome of the appeal with clenched buttocks.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Vegans around the world

      Criticising vegans? Prepare to meat your maker...

  27. bungle42
    WTF?

    Are Cow Farts Worse?

    I used to share an office with a bloke who would really kick off whenever I tried to I sneak one out.

    He really did not get it when I pointed out that because he lived next to a diary farm he was probably inhaling much more cow gas on a weekly basis than I could ever hope to expel in a lifetime. Maybe there is a psychological aspect to this in that human farts are somehow deemed to be worse that animal farts.

  28. Shady
    Mushroom

    Bootnote?

    Buttnote, surely.

    Don't strike a match! >>>

  29. Huw D Silver badge

    Futurama.

    Dwight Conrad:

    [after the Professor activates the crystal's 'high frequency stink'] Dude, who ripped an egger?

    Cubert Farnsworth:

    [accusingly] He who smelt it, dealt it.

    Dwight Conrad:

    Yeah? Well, he who denied it, supplied it!

    Cubert Farnsworth:

    He who articulated it, particulated it!

    Dwight Conrad:

    He who refuted it, tooted it!

    Cubert Farnsworth:

    [after a slight pause] Stalemate.

  30. Richard Parkin

    Open & shut

    Seems like an open and shut case to me ;-)

  31. onemark03

    Typical Ozzie humour. You'd think a boss would know better. This is worthy only of Year I varsity students.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horses and others

    We had horses years ago. One would always lift his tail before emission, thus warning all, but the other would simply emit with no visible warning (and his were much worse).

    At the office, there was a chap, who would emit vast clouds of stench at seemingly random intervals. When this happened in cubicle meetings, all would scatter save the poor cubicle occupant.

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