The Right To Be Boring
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France’s highest court ruled that a Paris-based consulting firm wrongfully dismissed an employee for not being “fun” enough at work, the Washington Post reported.
The case is related to a man who was fired from Cubik Partners in 2015 after refusing to participate in seminars and weekend social events. The company had described the dismissal as “professional incompetence,” accusing the man of not being able to accept feedback and differing points of view.
But the plaintiff’s lawyers said that the events included “excessive alcoholism” and “promiscuity.” The man noted that the firm’s “fun” culture included mock sexual acts and obligations to share his bed with another employee during work functions.
The court found that the man was entitled to “freedom of expression” and that refusing to participate in social events constituted a “fundamental freedom” protected by labor and human rights legislation and were not grounds for dismissal.
The case marks the latest instance where a company’s drinking culture has instigated legal disputes, the newspaper said.
In a lawsuit filed this year at a London court, an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers in England sued the firm for severe injuries he sustained during a work event that “made a competitive virtue” out of “excessive” drinking.
A number of recent cases have exposed the pervasiveness of alcohol in white-collar professional culture, especially after the #MeToo movement brought attention to workplace misconduct around the world. In order to avert such problems, several companies have implemented “booze chaperones” during business events.