Let's admit it - at some point or other we've all been
bored at work. Even the most interesting and challenging roles can
have their 'down days' where workloads are light or
repetitive tasks land on our desk.
However, spare a thought for Frederic Desnard, a French employee
who is suing his ex-employer for the equivalent of £282,000
in compensation. Mr Desnard claims that his managerial role at
French perfumiers Interparfum was so tedious and devoid of
responsibility that he suffered 'bore out.' Mr Desnard
claims that he was essentially side-lined by his employer and given
menial tasks or little to no work before finally being made
redundant. The stress and lack of stimulation, he claims, resulted
in serious depression and even triggered an epileptic fit whilst
driving. As such, the majority of his claim for £282,000 is
comprised of compensation for personal injury, but also includes
claims for holiday pay and the detrimental impact this has had on
his future career prospects.
This is a somewhat unusual case given that we tend to associate
stress cases with excessive hours, undue pressure and unrealistic
targets. But this does not necessarily mean this type of case could
not succeed here in theory. The Working Time Regulations 1998
provide for adequate rest breaks for workers whose health and
safety could be at risk due to the performance of monotonous tasks.
In practice, however, this is more likely to cover blue collar
workers performing assembly-line type of work.
If an employee feels that they have been side-lined and given
overly monotonous tasks, the most usual first step would be for
them to raise a complaint with their employer. Should the situation
continue after that, in English law the employee may have a
constructive dismissal argument – i.e. that they were
entitled to resign because their employer's treatment of
them(whether deliberate or neglectful) had breached their
To date, no decision has been made in Mr Desnard's case. It
will be interesting to see whether this type of case (the first of
its kind in France) will curry favour with the French Employment
Tribunal and,if in the unlikely event it does, whether such cases
will follow in the UK.
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The Court of Appeal has held that where a contract of employment lacks a provision for when notice of termination takes effect, it is effective from when the employee personally takes delivery of the letter containing notice.
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