I have to admit that I never thought that I would be writing about farting chairs, it seems more like something out of Benny Hill!
Have we descended to that level?
Anyhoo Sue Storer, deputy head of Bedminster Down Secondary school, is taking her ex employers to an employment tribunal.
She is claiming overwork, intimidation and stress.
Fair enough, perfectly reasonable grounds with which to make a claim.
However, it seems that the nub of her case (at least the way that the media report it) is the fact that she had a farting chair. Much like the chairs that CJ used in Reginald Perrin, her chair made farting noises whenever she sat or moved on it.
Mrs Storer told the tribunal that her two joint deputy heads, who were both men, were given new "executive" chairs without having to ask; whereas she continually had to apologise to pupils, parents and other teachers for the noises.
She ended up resigning from her job, and is now claiming more than £1 million, based on lost earnings and loss of pension, against Bristol City Council for constructive dismissal and sex discrimination.
In reference to the chair, she said:
"It was very embarrassing to sit on.
I asked for a chair that didn't give me a dead leg or make these very embarrassing farting sounds.
It was a regular joke that my chair would make these farting sounds and I regularly had to apologise that it wasn't me, it was my chair."
Seemingly a consignment of new chairs arrived in May 2002, and she was not allocated one.
She even tried using health and safety to justify a new chair (quite why farting constitutes a health and safety issue I don't know).
"I had specially requested a chair under health and safety regulations and I didn't get one."
When asked why she did not sort out the problem, she said:
"It's a health and safety issue for an employer to ensure you have a comfortable chair."
She said that she had raised the issue with the health and safety co-ordinator, Dick Hibdidge, a fellow deputy head.
"After 12 months of not receiving a chair, I put in a memo and still didn't receive one."
Richard Bevan, the chairman of the school governors, said:
"I just can't understand why that issue wouldn't have been resolved. I would have thought that anybody in a senior position could have sorted out that problem."
The head teacher said that one delivery of chairs sat in reception for two weeks.
"If it was an issue, I would have expected her to help herself."
Herein lies the problem with the Nanny state. We have all become so used to relying on, and hiding behind, rules and regulations, that we have forgotten to use our initiative and common sense.
Common sense would have dictated that both parties addressed this issue, and found a simple way of obtaining a new chair.
Common sense, it seems, was sadly lacking in this case.