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He’s not rude, just French, says Vancouver waiter fired for ‘aggressive’ attitude

A waiter has filed a complaint with the Canadian government over his firing from a Vancouver restaurant for being abrasive with co-workers, saying his “direct and expressive” demeanor is simply part of his French culture.
A waiter has filed a complaint with the Canadian government over his firing from a Vancouver restaurant for being abrasive with co-workers, saying his “direct and expressive” demeanor is simply part of his French culture. The Associated Press file

It’s not his fault that some co-workers found him “aggressive, rude and disrespectful,” says a waiter fired from a Vancouver restaurant.

He’s just French, Guillaume Rey says in a discrimination complaint filed with British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal, reported France 24. Rey says in his complaint that French culture just “tends to be more direct and expressive” and chalks his dismissal up to discrimination against his culture.

Milestones Restaurant and its parent company, Cara Operations, tried to have the complaint dismissed, reported the site, but tribunal member Devyn Cousineau refused, although she noted that Rey will still have to prove his allegations.

“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, reported France 24.

Rey worked as a waiter at Milestones Restaurant in Vancouver from October 2015 to August 2016, reported CBC News. While both parties agree that Rey was popular with customers, the restaurant says he was repeatedly disciplined and warned for “combative and aggressive” behavior toward his colleagues.

He was fired after demanding that another server ttake over his duties, leaving her “borderline in tears” according to the restaurant manager. Rey denies the allegation, reported CBC News, and says “he was being terminated because of his French culture.”

Rey also attributed his dismissal to his “direct, honest and professional personality,” acquired while training in France’s hospitality industry, according to The Guardian.

Julien Mainguy, founder of B.C. Talents, which helps workers from France integrate into the British Columbia workforce, told CBC News that cultural differences are not unusual.

“The culture in Canada, it’s a non-conflict culture, particularly in the professional area,” Mainguy said. “Most of the French-speaking people from Europe, they tend to be very direct.”

Here are some thoughts from experienced restaurant servers about how to take care of their diners.

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