A Frenchman who complained that he didn't have enough to do at work has been handed €50,000 (£44,470) after suffering from "bore-out".
Frederic Desnard simply had too little to do, he told sympathetic judges in a Parisian tribunal. Despite turning up for work, all keen and raring to go, bosses at perfume biz Interparfums simply didn't give him enough to keep him occupied.
Between 2010 and 2014, 48-year-old Desnard would turn up to work to be given "menial" tasks. He told local courts, as reported by The Times: "No one cared if I arrived at 9am or 10am. I had to buy some supplies – a few sheets of paper – and then my day was over."
As French magazine Le Dauphine reported, Desnard enjoyed the title of "head of general services." His decreasing workload coincided with the "end of the contract for the largest brand for which Interparfums worked."
Desnard was made redundant in 2014. He had suffered an epileptic seizure while driving, which resulted in a car accident and six months on leave from his evidently unfulfilling job. While the English-language press has largely poked fun at poor Desnard, his situation appears to be much more profound than the unfair stereotype of a person being given a fat payout for the inconvenience of doing nothing at work all day.
Le Dauphine referenced a 2016 report on Desnard's case from French TV station LCI. He had spent eight years with Interparfums but being "shelved" by the company in 2010 triggered what he characterised as "an insidious descent into hell, a nightmare."
The one-time head of general services described Interparfums' loss of the big contract as causing a "restructuring" in which his workmates became his enemies as they tried to save their own jobs and his health deteriorated through stress. Interparfums, Desnard's lawyer alleged, was trying "to dismiss him without having to pay him compensation, and in particular compensatory notice allowance."
It appeared that Desnard tried to call the company's bluff by staying put. When it eventually sacked him following his epileptic fit and car crash, he sued for what Le Dauphine described as "moral harassment," a cause of action seemingly well known in French labour law.
The Times said that French labour laws make it so hard to sack staff without large compensatory payouts that the tactic of trying to bore them into quitting even has a word for it – placardisation. El Reg suggests Desnard's situation would have been described as constructive dismissal under UK laws.
"Mr Desnard was fed up with doing nothing. This situation made him so depressed that he talked more and more about committing suicide," one of his colleagues told the court.
An appeal court upheld the verdict of the Parisian employment tribunal, confirming that Desnard had suffered from "bore-out," a condition virtually unknown on this side of the Channel.
Desnard is now registered disabled and is said to still be hunting for a new job. In widely reported comments after his case ended, he said: "This is going to create an avenue for all those who haven't been able to find the right word to describe their situation."
The Register has asked Interparfums to comment. ®