A waiter fired from a restaurant in Canada claims he’s not rude and aggressive like his former managers and co-workers say, he’s simply French.
But Guillaume Rey isn’t poking fun at a tired stereotype, he’s alleging discrimination.
Rey, a native of France, says the management at Milestones Grill + Bar in Vancouver violated British Columbia’s Human Rights Code by firing him in August. In a complaint to the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Rey claimed there was a perception “that his French culture made him aggressive,” which resulted in his ouster.
The restaurant, operated by Cara Operations Ltd., denies the accusation, saying Rey was booted for his “aggressive tone and nature with others.”
Rey started working at the restaurant in October 2015 and received positive reviews from customers, but there were also several tiffs with his managers and co-workers. A review noted he was “combative + aggressive” and he was written up at least once after getting into an argument with a co-worker.
The final straw came after another fight with a co-worker in August, when the manager said he was “aggressive, rude + disrespectful,” which was the latest in “repeated” behavior.
At the time he was fired, Rey told the manager the accusations stemmed from “discrimination against my culture,” which “tends to be more direct and expressive.” Rey also claims there were several times during his employment when management referenced his culture as a reason why staff members found him aggressive.
Later, in a statement, Rey said he was fired for his high standards learned from French restaurants and his “direct, honest and professional personality.”
In a March 7 action, Tribunal Member Devyn Cousineau said the complaint will proceed to a hearing since he lacked evidence to toss the case. Cousineau wrote Rey will have to “prove at a hearing the termination of his employment was related in some way to his French ancestry.”