By Law French Employers Could Not Stop Workers From Drinking Wine at Work—Until Now.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 4 2014 11:28 AM

By Law French Employers Could Not Stop Workers From Drinking Wine at Work—Until Now.

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Working lunch.

Photo by FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

In France, having a glass of wine isn’t a luxury. It’s more like a human right. The country’s love affair with fermented grapes is so engrained that the right to have a glass of wine at work has even been protected by law. Until now, that is.

Until this week, enshrined in the country’s labor laws was the stipulation that “employers could not ban beer, cider and wine from workplace canteens and social drinks in offices,” according to France 24. The provision did have its limits: Spirits were allowed to be banned by employers, presumably because having a scotch on the rocks at lunch isn’t a winning combo for any employee. And, fear not, “drivers, medical staff and machine operators (among others) [could] be banned from drinking at all if they are on duty,” says France 24.

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As of now, however, for many workers, the tipsy French lunch hour could soon be no more. The country’s sober department of labor ruled that workers’ rights do not include the right to have a glass of wine with lunch and, France 24 reports, “employers may henceforth forbid their staff from drinking wine and cider in the workplace.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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