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Public Servant Fired After Pissing in the Office Kettle

Colleagues displayed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the incident, which has since been dubbed "Kettle-gate".

by Gavin Butler
09 October 2019, 1:00pm

For illustrative purposes only. Images via Flickr user www.trek.today (L) and PeakPx (R)

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.

Name one single set of circumstances where it’s okay to piss in a kettle. None come to mind. The act of urinating into a teapot—of emptying one’s bladder into a white good that is more typically used for boiling tea or pasta water—seems to be something of a universal taboo. And yet here we are: a South Australian public servant has been sacked after it was discovered that they, in fact, pissed in the office kitchen kettle.

The fateful incident took place last March at the after hours office of disability support organisation Disability SA, according to NewsCorp. It was the subject of a long-running investigation which culminated in the culprit being sacked in July of this year. The Department of Human Services, under which Disability SA operates, yesterday confirmed that the office pisser had been sent packing.

“When the incident was reported, an investigation was immediately commenced by the DHS Incident Management Unit… the department’s investigative body for any employee misconduct matters,” a department spokesperson said. “The investigation found that urine was present in a workplace kettle. No blood was found.”

This last point is important, as some workers had, for whatever reason, feared that there was also blood in the wee. Unwittingly imbibing your work colleague’s urine is one thing, but drinking a steaming hot cup of piss and also blood is a whole other kettle of proverbial fish.

It’s understood that the latter possibility had a few workers in the office a little concerned. InDaily reported that staff have sought counselling and stress leave, and at least one employee has resigned over the department’s failure to update staff about its handling of the incident—which was dubbed “Kettle-gate” by other members of the agency. Multiple staff “are now displaying what appear to be symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder” and have undergone psychological counselling, according to a formal complaint sent to the Premier.

It was while refilling the kettle in question that the unsavoury contents were revealed to members of staff. “On feeling that the water seemed low in the kettle, the lid was opened… and a strong and strange odour was found coming from the liquid contents of the kettle,” a document details. “On closer examination, this was found to smell and look like urine. Subsequent testing by the Registered Nurse on duty within the DHS building, found this indeed was urine.”

The aforementioned letter to the Premier asked them to “place yourself into our position on that day drinking tea... how indeed would you feel and what action would you deem appropriate to be taken and within what timeframe?” It's understood that the matter was finally resolved on September 20, more than 18 months after the incident occurred.

The identity of the pisser has not been released for what should be fairly obvious reasons.

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