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

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A man fired by a Paris-based consultancy for allegedly not being fun enough at work was wrongfully dismissed, France’s highest court has ruled.

The man, identified in court documents as Mr. T, was fired from Cubik Partners in 2015 after refusing to participate in seminars and weekend social events that his lawyers said involved “excessive alcoholism” and “promiscuity,” according to court documents. . “

Mr T claimed the company’s “fun” culture involved “degrading and harassing practices”, including taunts about sexual acts, rude nicknames and requiring him to share his bed with another employee while on duty.

In a ruling this month, the Court of Cassation found that the man was entitled to “freedom of speech” and that refusing to participate in public activities was a “fundamental freedom” under labor and human rights laws, not grounds for his dismissal.

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The man was hired by Cubik Partners as a senior consultant in February 2011 and promoted to director in February 2014, according to court documents. In March 2015, he was fired for “professional incompetence” because he allegedly did not respect the firm’s friendly values.

The company also criticized his sometimes “brittle and demotivating tone” towards subordinates, as well as his alleged inability to accept feedback and differing opinions.

Cubik Partners did not immediately respond to The Washington Post’s request for comment.

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PwC’s silly event in the UK ends in a coma and a lawsuit

It’s not the first time a company’s drinking culture has come under the microscope in court cases. A number of recent incidents have highlighted the entrenchment of alcohol in white-collar professional culture, even after the #MeToo movement drew attention to workplace misconduct around the world. Some firms have introduced “beverage companions” at company events in the hope of avoiding such problems.

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

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

France is one of the world’s most liberal countries in terms of alcohol consumption. The legal minimum age for drinking alcohol in a public place is 18, but there is no regulation for drinking alcohol in a private place.

Taylor Telford contributed to this report.

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