French waiter fired for being rude says it’s part of his culture

A French waiter working in Canada who was fired for his alleged “rude” and “aggressive” behaviour towards other members of staff has claimed that he is a victim of cultural discrimination.

Guillaume Rey, who is from France, has filed a complaint with British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal against his former employer and its parent company over his dismissal.

In the lawsuit, Rey claims that he was fired because of “a perception that his French culture made him aggressive”.

Milestones restaurant and its parent company Cara Operations Ltd have denied Rey’s charges of discrimination and claim that his behaviour violated its ‘Respect in the Workplace’ policy.

Rey began working at the restaurant in October 2015 and maintains that he was “good at his job” and received “positive feedback” from guests about the level of service he provided.

The restaurant manager, however, claims that Rey’s contract was terminated after he was aggressive towards other staff members, particularly during an incident which took place in August 2017. Rey denies the restaurant manager’s version of events and has submitted a letter from a fellow employee who also witnessed the dispute, but who shares his views.

Earlier this month, the restaurant and its parent company attempted to have Rey’s claim dismissed.

However, tribunal member Devyn Cousineau denied the application, meaning that Rey will receive a hearing.

Cousineau wrote: “Mr Rey will have to explain what it is about his French heritage that would result in behaviour that people misinterpret as a violation of workplace standards of acceptable conduct.

“A Tribunal Member will be unlikely to accept, without evidence, that French people are perceived as aggressive in Canadian workplaces”.

She added that while the claim is proceeding to a hearing, “this decision is no prediction of its likelihood of success”.

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