French man wins right to not be ‘fun’ at work in wrongful termination case


France’s top court has ruled that a man fired by a Paris-based consulting firm for allegedly not being “fun” enough at work was wrongfully dismissed.

The man, referred to in court documents as Mr T, was fired from Cubik Partners in 2015 after he refused to participate in weekend seminars and social events that his lawyers claimed involved “excessive drinking” according to court documents and “promiscuity.” “

Mr T claimed the “funny” culture at the company included “degrading and intrusive practices”, including fake sexual acts, crude nicknames and being required to share his bed with another employee during work.

In its ruling this month, the Court of Cassation ruled that the man had a right to “freedom of expression” and that refusing to participate in social activities was a “fundamental freedom” under labor and human rights laws, not grounds for his dismissal.

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According to court documents, the man was hired by Cubik Partners as a senior consultant in February 2011 and promoted to director in February 2014. He was fired for “professional incompetence” in March 2015 after allegedly failing to has adhered to the corporate values ​​of the company.

The company also criticized his sometimes “brittle and demotivating tone” towards subordinates and an alleged inability to accept feedback and different points of view.

Cubik Partners did not immediately respond to a request from The Washington Post for comment.

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PwC’s drunken UK event ends in coma and lawsuit

This is not the first time a company’s drinking culture has come under the microscope in legal proceedings. A number of recent incidents have highlighted the entrenchment of alcohol in white-collar professional culture, even as the #MeToo movement shines a spotlight on workplace misconduct worldwide. Some businesses have introduced “alcohol chaperones” at company events in the hope of avoiding such problems.

An auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers in England is suing the company over serious injuries he suffered at a work event that “made a competitive virtue” of “excessive” drinking, in a case brought at London’s High Court this year. Michael Brockie fell into a coma and had part of his skull removed after attending the company’s event, The Post reported.

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In March, insurance market Lloyd’s of London fined member firm Atrium Underwriters a record £1 million (about $1.2 million) for “serious failings”, including a “lads’ night” in which employees, including two senior executives, “took part in inappropriate opening games and heavy drinking and making sexual comments about female colleagues,” the Guardian reported at the time.

France is among the most liberal countries in the world in terms of alcohol consumption. The legal minimum age for drinking alcohol in public places is 18, but there is no regulation for drinking alcohol in private places.

Taylor Telford contributed to this report.


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