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La placardisation: a dubious practice

Perhaps you already know that un placard is simply 'a cupboard'?

But what about la placardisation or la mise au placard, literally, 'being put in the cupboard'? It is a practice which has become more frequent, especially since the financial crisis.

In general terms, la placardisation refers to the 'sidelining' or 'silent treatment' of an employee whereby he or she is put in charge of meaningless tasks, inferior to those he/she managed previously. In extreme cases, such employees are deprived of any meaningful work and isolated from their work colleagues. Effectively, they are harassed psychologically by their employers.

The ultimate 'goal' of the management - whether in the public or private sector - is to bring about the 'voluntary' resignation of the individual who has been placardisé... which in turn relieves the employer of the obligation to make a redundancy payment.

Since the financial crisis, la placardisation has sometimes been a 'tool' utilised by the human resources department of private companies - and government departments - who seek greater 'efficiencies' from their staff.

Consider some examples:

  • Cet ingénieur a compris qu'il était placardisé lorsqu'il a été muté à un poste d'agent d'entretien.
    = This engineer understood he had been sidelined/he was being given the 'silent treatment' when he was transferred to the position of a maintenance operative.
  • Victime de placardisation, ce haut fonctionnaire a préféré démissionner.
    = A victim of the 'silent treatment', this senior public servant opted to resign.
  • Mon collègue a compris que sa mutation n'était pas une promotion mais, en fait, une mise au placard.
    = My colleague understood that his transfer was not a promotion but [was], in fact, a sidelining.

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