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New Workplace Hazard- The Bore-Out

Published 20 Jun 2020

A landmark ruling in France, has seen an employee win the equivalent of $87,000.00 for boredom or the 'bore-out' syndrome.

Bore-out is a term identified by a pair of Swiss business men in 2007 and is reportedly the opposite of 'burnout' at work. Having a role requiring so little, made the employee 'ashamed of being paid for doing nothing' causing him serious depression in the long term.

This middle manager for a perfume company alleged his tasks and responsibilities had been slowly whittled away over several years, to the point where he was so bored at work he was suffering mental harm.

He was eventually made redundant following a prolonged period of sick leave, at which point saw him fit to make the claim.

The tribunal found there was a link between the deterioration of his health and his work and thus awarded against the firm. The company's defence of not being made aware of the issue didn't carry enough weight to mitigate in these circumstances.

The question is how long before we see this happen here?

Similar examples here generally manifest as claims of constructive dismissal or disadvantage when people's roles or tasks are diminished or removed, so boredom could simply widen the net.

Lessons to learn before NZs cottage industry of employee advocates start with this, is the importance of staff performance reviews including reviews of job descriptions on regular basis.

Very often reviews are a grudge exercise by the employer, seldom done until staff performance becomes an issue, at which point calling a review immediately gets their hackles up as they feel picked on and singled out.

Do your reviews at least annually. It doesn't mean mandatory pay rises for staff, and generally you get better staff engagement by taking this time to listen to their feedback, future goals and target setting. Even better, you'll also have a far better defence of issues such as staff 'bore-out'. All members have our online performance reviews in your Employers Toolbox which staff can complete in their own time on their mobile devices and eSign for that secure and paper-free office.