A French Waiter Got Fired for Being Rude and Is Now Suing for Cultural Discrimination

Illustration for article titled A French Waiter Got Fired for Being Rude and Is Now Suing for Cultural Discrimination
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In 2017, a man named Guillaume Rey was working in a Vancouver restaurant when he was fired for being aggressively rude. He has now filed a complaint with the British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal for discrimination—he’s not rude, he’s just French. Mon dieu.

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The Guardian reports that Rey’s complaint is being taken seriously; the restaurant’s management company Cara Operations tried to have it dismissed, but were denied. A hearing is being scheduled, in which it will be determined whether or not Rey violated the restaurant’s code of conduct or if they’re just haters who don’t understand the French habit of being a bit impolitesse.

The restaurant actually agrees that Rey was a good waiter, and according to CBC, he generally got good feedback from customers. However, he was occasionally given a supervisor’s role over other servers. He was terminated after leaving one waiter in tears after “aggressively” reminding them of their “duties.” He was officially fired for violating their Respect in the Workplace policy. Mais non, it is discrimination, says Rey:

In alleging discrimination Rey said French culture just “tends to be more direct and expressive.”

He owes his sacking to his “direct, honest and professional personality”, which he acquired while training in France’s hospitality industry.

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Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau is giving Rey the opportunity to explain how his French heritage would “result in behavior that people misinterpret as a violation of workplace standards of acceptable conduct.” If you’ve ever spent time in France or if rudeness is a part of your own PERSONAL culture, you can really see this from both sides.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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Not exactly related but: I hail from the middle of the USA and recently started working in customer service in NYC, and the difference is staggering. My whole training week I could not get over how rude my coworkers (and boss!) were allowed to be to customers; it was amazing. Back in the Midwest I had to essentially give each customer the emotional equivalent of a handjob just to coast, and here I can like, yell at people, and I’m still nicer than all my coworkers. I can feel my humanity leaking out of me and it’s wonderful.