Pernod Ricard Exposed: Harmful Alcohol Norm at Work
A member of Pernod Ricard’s sales team took the firm to labor courts due to being made ill from alcohol use under pressure from the company. The court proceedings have exposed a harmful alcohol norm at work within Pernod Ricard.
Staff have been coming forward since the case opened with details about how the company pressures employees to consume alcohol during work to the point of health harm.
Pernod Ricard, one the world’s largest alcohol producers, has been denying the allegations and claiming alcohol use within the company is a “personal choice.” It’s the same claims the alcohol industry at large makes in their wide-spread “personal responsibility” campaigns.
Staff reports of Pernod Ricard’s harmful workplace alcohol norm
A former salesman said he had to consume up to 12 glasses of the aniseed-flavoured alcohol a day and drove while intoxicated.
A saleswoman said staff consumed alcohol at lunchtime, after meetings and in the evenings as well as when they met clients, and that continual alcohol use caused her to suffer hallucinations and hear voices.
It’s the company’s culture: if you say no, you’re not very well regarded,” she said, as per The Guardian.
When she returned to work after her doctor signed her off as being ill, her boss offered her more alcohol, saying, “You’ll have a Ricard? Go on, don’t piss everyone off, you’re not working at Perrier.”
She added she had to resort to throwing the alcohol into nearby plants discreetly to get away from consuming alcohol and falling ill.
The glasses of pastis, swallowed by the dozens at parties, ended up making me sick,” added another former employee as per The Guardian.
He added that he reported his concerns to bosses after finding an intoxicated colleague “drooling in his car” and another in an “alcoholic coma”, but apparently the bosses were not surprised and did not take any consideration to the reports.
We [consumed] so much [alcohol], I was putting away 12 pastis a day … I could have caused an accident while driving; killed someone or myself,” said another former employee, as per The Guardian.
Pernod Ricard is denying allegations with a press spokeswoman claiming that “there is no culture of alcohol” and the head of communications adding that employees can “choose” to consume alcohol if they wish or not.
The problem is two-fold: Firstly, healthy workplaces have policies in place for alcohol-free workplaces, especially if eployees are expected to drive. Secondly, in the absence of a workplace alcohol policy, there is no real choice when there is a pervasive alcohol norm within the company culture as shown by so many employee experiences within the company. There is no real “choice” under the apparent pressure to conform with company culture and expectations.
A thorough investigation of the alcohol industry giant is necessary to put an end to the obviously harmful alcohol culture within the company. Their current alcohol norm could harm not only Pernod Ricard’s employees but also other people as employees have reported even driving while being under the influence of alcohol.
The tribunal ruling is expected at the end of November 2019.