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Fired Waiter's Human Rights Complaint: I'm French, Not 'Rude'

Case will move forward in Vancouver
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2018 4:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – An ex-waiter at Milestones restaurant in Vancouver who was fired over "rude" behavior has filed a human rights complaint against his former employer—because, he says, he only acted that way since he's French, and thus his firing was discriminatory. Guillaume Rey says French culture "tends to be more direct and expressive" and that while working in the French hospitality industry, he cultivated a "direct, honest, and professional personality." But his former employer alleges that while Rey was friendly toward customers, he was often "combative and aggressive" toward his co-workers, once leaving a fellow server "borderline in tears," the BBC reports.

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Rey's ex-employer also says he was warned several times that the aforementioned behavior violated the restaurant's Respect in the Workplace policy before being fired in August 2017; he had worked at the restaurant since October 2015 and was often assigned to be shift lead, putting him in a supervisory role, per the CBC. The restaurant and its parent company sought to have Rey's complaint with British Columbia's Human Rights Tribunal dismissed, but the tribunal allowed the case to move forward, meaning there will be a hearing in the future. "Mr. Rey will have to explain what it is about his French heritage that would result in behavior that people misinterpret as a violation of workplace standards of acceptable conduct," wrote a tribunal member in the decision, per the Guardian. (At least Rey never did this.)

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