Il est minable, mon chef !
ee lay mee-nah-bluh, maw sheff! Click below to hear this.
My boss is pitiful!
Miner means to mine (coal, diamonds, whatever). It also means to undermine or to undercut, which makes sense, because if you mine under something, it will collapse and cave in. You can use miner in a literal or a figurative sense.
So a person who is minable is one who is easy to undercut. Many of us have had the experience of working for such a person: a boss who is incapable of making decisions, or makes all the wrong decisions, who can’t handle controversy, or who fails to take action where action is needed. A pitiful character, indeed.
But can you call your boss minable in public? Can you post your complaint in so many words on Facebook without legal consequences? For a fascinating and detailed discussion in French about the legalities surrounding this question according to French law, see this article from the newspaper Le Monde: http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2011/03/10/peut-on-traiter-son-chef-de-minable-sur-facebook_1490661_3224.html#ens_id=1244271
France has freedom-of-expression laws similar to the US laws, but there’s an interesting distinction between the rights of salaried and non-salaried workers. The discussion in this article is based on a real-life French case, and gives one pause. Never send via the internet (email, Facebook, Twitter, or any other medium) anything you wouldn’t be willing to defend in court–nor anything you wouldn’t say to your mother’s face, for that matter. Either way, you could get in trouble.
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