Man Fired for Being No ‘Fun’ Wins in Court
Last week a top French court ruling was made public. The case involved a man who was fired in 2015 because he failed to integrate the company’s “fun & pro” values. These values included drinking with co-workers and team-building activities.
The anonymous man was a senior adviser for a Parsian management consultancy and training company called Cubik Partners. Part of Cubik’s core message is being “fun and professional” in their daily life. The company says as an employee “you have to have fun while working.”
Part of this fun included hosting social events for staff.
However, the man who was fired refused to take part. The company accused the ex-employee of being square and boring, according to The Telegraph. He was also said to be difficult to work with and a poor listener. Therefore, Cubik decided to fire him in 2015 due to “professional inadequacy” and supposedly because he lacked the company’s party spirit.
The man argued he was entitled to “critical behavior and to refuse company policy based on incitement to partake in various excesses.”
The appeals court highlighted that the man wasn’t at fault for wanting to avoid necessary participation in seminars and end-of-week drinks which often led to “excessive alcohol intake, encouraged by associates who made very large quantities of alcohol available.”
Cubik’s definition of “fun” also involved engagement in “practices linking promiscuity, bullying and incitement to get involved in various forms of excess and misconduct.”
The court ruled it was within the man’s “freedom of expression” to not partake.
The court also said that the company’s “fun and pro” work culture could be described as “humiliating and intrusive practices regarding privacy such as simulated sexual acts, the obligation to share a bed with a colleague during seminars, the use of nicknames to designate people and hanging up deformed and made-up photos in offices.”
Cubik Partners was ordered to pay the ex-employee €3,000 (about $3,100). The man is seeking a further €461,000 or approximately $480,000 in damages. This request will be examined at a later date.
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