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

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France’s top court has ruled that a man fired by a Paris-based consulting firm for failing to be “funny” enough at work was unfairly dismissed.

The man, identified in court documents as Mr T, was fired from Cubik Partners in 2015 after he refused to attend seminars and weekend social events, which his lawyers alleged were “excessive drinking” and “disorderly conduct”, according to court documents. “

Mr T alleged that the “fun” culture at the company included “degrading and intrusive practices”, including teasing sexual acts, crude nicknames and forcing him to share his bed with another employee while at work.

In a ruling this month, the Court of Cassation ruled that a person has a right to “freedom of expression” and that refusing to participate in public activities is a “fundamental freedom” under labor and human rights laws and is not grounds for dismissal.

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He was hired by Cubik Partners as a senior consultant in February 2011 and promoted to director in February 2014, according to court documents. He was fired in March 2015 for “professional incompetence” for failing to uphold the firm’s convivial values.

The company also criticized his sometimes “fragile and demeaning tone” towards subordinates, accusing him of being unable to accept opinions and different points of view.

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

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PwC’s UK event ends in coma and lawsuit

This is not the first time the company’s drinking culture has been the subject of litigation. Even as the #MeToo movement shines a spotlight on workplace misconduct around the world, a number of recent incidents have shown how alcohol is deeply entrenched in white-collar professional culture. Some firms have introduced “drinkers” at company events to avoid such problems.

An auditor from PricewaterhouseCoopers in England sued the company in a lawsuit filed at the High Court in London this year over serious injuries he sustained at an event that made “excessive” drinking “competitive.” Michael Brockie fell into a coma after attending a company event and had part of his skull removed, The Post reported.

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In March, Lloyd’s of London insurance market fined member firm Atrium Underwriters a record £1 million (about $1.2 million) for “serious failings” including a “boys’ night out” involving employees, including two senior executives. put “He was involved in games of initiation and heavy drinking, and made sexually suggestive comments about female colleagues,” the Guardian wrote.

France is one of the most liberal countries in the world when it comes to drinking alcohol. The legal minimum drinking age in public places is 18, but there is no regulation for private drinking.

Taylor Telford contributed to this report.

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