A worker has pocketed tens of thousands of dollars after a court found his dull job caused him to suffer “bore-out” in a landmark ruling.
Frédéric Desnard previously worked for French high-end perfume company Interparfums, but launched legal action after claiming his role, which he was given in 2010, was so mind-numbing that his mental health suffered.
The 44-year-old claims the problem began after was demoted from a high-ranking role in the Paris-based firm, which required him to carry out more menial tasks, such as configuring his boss’ devices, over four years.
He ended up scoring €50,000 ($A81,000) after his “bore-out” claim was upheld by Paris’s appeals court.
The term has been defined by Christian Bourion, a professor of social economics at the ICN business school, as a “syndrome of boredom at work (and) a source of strong suffering … that can lead … to depression.”
It’s the opposite of the more widely known “burnout”, which is when an employee’s mental health is affected by stress and an overwhelming workload.
According to Newsweek, Mr Desnard likened his work conditions to a “descent into hell” and a “nightmare” which left him “destroyed” and living with “serious depression”.
He claimed he had so few tasks “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,” he said, adding he had been “deprived of his original responsibilities”.
“I was ashamed of being paid for doing nothing,” he said
The publication also reported a colleague of Mr Desnard told the court the situation was so dire his co-worker even contemplated taking his own life.
“Mr Desnard was fed up with doing nothing. This situation made him so depressed that he talked more and more about committing suicide,” the colleague said.
He ended up launching legal action after being made redundant in September 2014 after a “prolonged absence” caused by a car accident.
According to the Daily Mail, the tribunal found there was a link between the “deterioration” of Mr Desnard’s health and his work situation.
However, his former employer claimed Mr Desnard failed to make them aware of the problem.
The case is the first of its kind in France, and has been described as a “watershed decision” which could inspire countless other underworked employees in similarly bleak situations to take action.