Employees of liquor company say office culture made them stumbling drunk

Photo: A_N (iStock)

Workplace culture can be rough to navigate at the best of times, but perhaps especially when there’s alcohol involved. Pernod Ricard, a French company that makes popular spirits like the anise-flavored pastis aperitif, has been accused by a growing number of former and current employees of fostering an inhospitable office drinking culture that pressured workers into getting drunk on the job.

According to The Guardian, a former member of the sales team took Pernod Ricard to court in September, alleging that he had become ill from the excessive drinking. Other employees have since come forward supporting those claims, including one woman who told Le Parisien that drinking in the office was expected at lunchtime, during and after meetings with clients, and each evening. The level of alcohol consumption, she says, caused her to hallucinate. “It’s the company’s culture: if you say no, you’re not very well regarded,” she said. Multiple former employees allege driving home drunk from work, posing a danger to themselves and others.

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Pernod Ricard has denied these claims, and says that each employee’s level of drinking is a personal choice. “There is no culture of alcohol, no order, no incitement in any form to drink,” said one spokesperson for the company who spoke with The Guardian. The court will rule on the case at the end of November.

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Marnie Shure

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.