To paraphrase the great Beastie Boys hit, you’ve got to fight for your right to not party. And one Frenchman has successfully done just that, Business Insider reports, after a new ruling from France’s highest court on a wrongful termination lawsuit found he can’t be compelled to party it up.
A French court has ruled that companies can’t fire their workers for failing to be sufficiently “fun.”
The ruling comes after a man, referred to as Mr T, was fired from the Paris consultancy firm Cubik Partners in 2015 for refusing to participate in after-work drinks and team-building activities.
According to the court documents, Mr T joined the firm in February 2011 and was promoted in 2014, but was fired a year later in March 2015 for “professional incompetence” — specifically his refusal to adhere to the company’s “fun” values. Cubik Partners also said Mr T was difficult to work with and a poor listener.
From just that, you might be thinking the company has a point. You have an expectation that an employee will make an effort to get along with colleagues. But there’s more.
What were these “fun” values at Cubik Partners, according to the court? The job requirement to attend social gatherings, which
culminated in “excessive alcoholism encouraged by colleagues who made very large quantities of alcohol available,” as well as “practices pushed by colleagues involving promiscuity, bullying and incitement to various excesses.”
The court – the highest in the French legal system – also outlined various “humiliating and intrusive” practices promoted by Cubik Partners including simulations of sexual acts and the obligation to share a bed with a colleague.
The court reasoned that the company violated the man’s ability to exercise his “fundamental freedom” of expression:
The court ruled that Mr T was exercising his “freedom of expression” by refusing to participate in the company’s social activities, and that performing this “fundamental freedom” could not be a reason for his dismissal.
And while the plaintiff hasn’t won the monetary damages he was looking for — an appeals court rejected his asking for about $500,000 — the higher court gave him a tiny fraction of that, but said it could add to it later.
Since it’s still kinda a holiday weekend until Monday, there’s no reason not to share the Beastie Boys’ classic ’80s tune. (By the way, the video is age 18+, so can only be watched on YouTube. Your call.)