French court rules employee was wrongfully fired for not being ‘fun’

A French court ruled that a man was wrongly fired for not participating in the company’s “fun” activities that often involved heavy partying and bullying.

The employee, identified in court documents as Mr. T, was fired by Cubik Partners in 2015 for not integrating the “fun & pro” value of the company into his work life.

Mr. T, who was a director and four-year employee at the consulting firm, skipped seminars and weekend events that typically involved “excessive alcoholism” and “practices advocated by the associates linking promiscuity, bullying and incitement to various excesses,” the filing states.

The culture at the company was more humiliating than fun, Mr. T argued.

Employees engaged in “mock sexual acts” and were expected to share beds with coworkers on seminar trips. It was common practice for employees to use crude nicknames with one another and to post distorted, “made-up” photos in the offices.

Cubik terminated Mr. T for sitting on the sidelines of social events and for his rigid and brittle attitude toward his coworkers. The company alleged Mr. T took a demotivating tone toward subordinates and refused to listen to his colleagues, especially if their viewpoints differed from his.

People drinking cocktails and beer on a Paris bistro terrace
A French man was fired for not participating in his company’s social activities.
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Outside of the headquarters listed for Cubik Partners.
Mr. T was fired from Cubik Partners after spending four years at the firm.
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The Court of Cassation ruled that Mr. T was entitled to both his perceived bad attitude and missing social work events.

Mr. T was entitled to “freedom of expression” under labor and human rights laws and was under no obligation to participate in Cubik Partners’ social activities, the court said. The company’s dissatisfaction with his attitude was merely a criticism of his behavior, according to the ruling.

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