French man wins right not to be ‘nice’ at work in case of wrongful dismissal


France’s highest court has ruled that a man who was fired by a consultancy in Paris for not being ‘nice’ enough at work was unfairly fired.

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

Mr. T had argued that the company’s “fun” culture was accompanied by “demeaning and intrusive practices,” including fake sex acts, crude nicknames, and forcing him to share his bed with another employee during work functions.

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

According to court documents, the man was hired by Cubik Partners in February 2011 as a senior consultant and promoted to director in February 2014.

The company also criticized his sometimes “brittle and demotivating tone” towards subordinates, and perceived inability to accept feedback and differing viewpoints.

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

PwC’s drunken UK event ends in coma and lawsuit

It is not the first time that a company’s drinking culture has come under scrutiny in legal proceedings. A number of recent incidents have exposed the entrenchment of alcohol in the professional culture of white-collar workers, even after the #MeToo movement brought workplace misconduct into the global spotlight. Some companies have introduced “boozy chaperones” at corporate events in hopes of avoiding such problems.

An auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers in England sued the company for serious injuries sustained at a work event that turned “excessive” drinking into a “competitive virtue”. Michael Brockie fell into a coma and part of his skull was removed after participating in the company event, The Post reported.

In March, insurance marketplace Lloyd’s of London fined member firm Atrium Underwriters a record £1 million (approximately $1.2 million) for “serious failures”, including a “boys’ night out” where employees, including two senior executives, “participated in inappropriate initiation games and heavy drinking, and made sexual comments about female colleagues,” The Guardian reported at the time.

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

Taylor Telford contributed to this report.

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