Paris worker sacked for not being ‘fun enough’ wins €500,000 payout

The company claimed the worker never went to team drinks and was ‘brittle and demotivating’ to staff

A group of people ‘cheersing’ with glasses of alcohol drinks
The company claimed that the employee never wanted to come to team drinks, but the dismissed man said that the drinks were too alcohol-fuelled
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A court in France has ordered a company to pay a former employee €500,000 after he was sacked for not being ‘fun enough’.

The Court of Appeal in Paris handed down the judgement on January 30, saying that the decision by Cubik Partners to sack an employee for this reason was an “attack on his freedom of expression and fundamental freedom”.

The employee, known in court filings as Mr T, was dismissed from his position after his employer claimed that he was not “fun or professional” enough, and was “not being sufficiently aligned with the company’s ‘values’”.

Company drinks

Cubik Partners alleged that the employee - who joined in 2011 - never took part in company events or weekend drinks, was not a good listener, and spoke to people he managed in a “brittle and demotivating tone”.

However, the plaintiff said that he found the events to be too alcohol-fuelled, and did not want to participate.

He said: “Seminars and weekend drinks often led to excessive drinking, encouraged by the associates, who made large quantities of alcohol available, and by practices advocated by the associates, involving promiscuity, bullying and incitement to various excesses and misconduct.”

Unfair dismissal case

The employee took Cubik Partners to the industrial tribunal after his sacking, claiming €496,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal. His claim was initially rejected by the Paris Court of Appeal in 2021.

However, the court judges referred the company and employee back to the Court of Appeal.

This was on the grounds that “the criticisms made of the employee for his rigidity, his lack of listening skills, and his sometimes brittle and demotivating tone towards his subordinates” were not challenges to his “personal opinions”, but ultimately challenges to his freedom of expression.

The ruling on January 30 found that “the employee's freedom of expression and dissent, a fundamental freedom, had been infringed”.

The employee now also has the option to rejoin the company, but it is unclear whether he will do so.

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