While most employees complain of being overburdened at work, one Frenchman is suing his former employer for not giving him enough to do. According to Frederic Desnard, his job as a manager at perfume company ‘Interparfums’ had him suffer a “bore out” between the years of 2010 and 2014. He is now seeking €360,000 (approx. $400,000) in compensation and damages.
Desnard told Agence France-Presse that during his stint with the company he was given tasks that had nothing to do with his original responsibilities, leaving him “destroyed” with “serious depression.” He claimed that the lack of stimulation at work even triggered an epileptic fit one time, while he was driving. He was then signed off work for seven months, and the company later used his “prolonged absence” that “disturbed the smooth working” as an excuse to fire him in September 2014.
“I went into depression,” he said. “I was ashamed to be paid to do nothing. The worse part of it was denying this suffering.”
But Interparfums’ lawyer Jean-Philippe Benissan pointed out serious inconsistencies in Desnard’s claims, adding that he had never complained of boredom during his time with the company. He had only complained of burnout, following which he went on a sick leave. “If he had nothing to do for four years, why did the company keep him on?” he questioned. “And if he actually had nothing to do over these years, why didn’t he mention it?”
Owing to the lack of evidence to prove that Desnard’s job “ruined his health”, a court actually ordered him to pay his former employer €1,000 for defamation, in December 2015. But he came back with a stronger appeal, this time seeking a whopping €360,000 compensation, including holiday pay and for missing out on a potential promotion.
The lawsuit specifically mentions the term “bore out”, which is not recognised by French law. But according to labor law specialist Sylvian Neil, France’s higher courts have recognised 244 cases in which employees were “intentionally sidelined.” This is apparently tantamount to “moral harassment”. So Desnard might just have a fighting chance at winning the compensation he seeks.