How civil do we need to be with coworkers? One French waiter in Canada experienced the limits of workplace incivility when he was fired for allegedly acting aggressive, rude and combative to his coworkers. And now he’s suing his former employer for violating his human rights, arguing that he was not rude — he’s just French.
Guillaume Rey, a waiter at Milestones Bar + Grill in Vancouver, filed a complaint against his parent company, after he was fired for being too harsh towards a server, who was “borderline in tears” after Rey “aggressively” checked up on whether or not a server was doing the assigned work, according to the restaurant’s emails about Rey’s behavior.
French waiter claims accusations are discrimination
In his version of what happened, Rey contends that the accusations lobbed against him are “discrimination against my culture,” which “tends to be more direct and expressive.” He said that his “direct, honest and professional personality” is a result of the high standards he learned in the French hospitality industry.
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal is willing to hear Rey out on his French rudeness discrimination theory. Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau did not outright dismiss his complaint, allowing Rey’s case to move forward.
But in order for Rey to win, he will need to do his homework and explain the French stereotype that is being held against him unfairly.
“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,” Cousineau wrote in her decision.