A French waiter has filed a discrimination complaint with Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal after his restaurant fired him for being “aggressive, rude, and disrespectful” to customers. Guillaume Rey insists his skills are actually top-notch, thanks to the excellent training he received at hospitality school in France. The problem is his former employer, Canadian casual-dining chain Milestones Grill and Bar, which he accuses of “discrimination against my culture” for terminating him.
His complaint suggests Milestones — a “familiar and friendly” 45-location chain — didn’t appreciate what they had in Rey, whose Gallic tableside demeanor just “tends to be more direct and expressive” than some other servers’. He contends he was “direct, honest, and professional,” and that minus the whole “aggressive” and “rude” thing, the restaurant even agrees he was good at his job.
For its part, Milestones argues Rey’s attitude violated its employee code of conduct, specifically that his “unacceptably rude” behavior persisted despite multiple “verbal and written performance reviews,” leaving managers no choice but to fire him. The chain apparently tried quashing Rey’s legal complaint, too, after he filed it, but the tribunal in British Columbia has denied the request. Both parties now ultimately have to appear in court, although the tribunal also writes the burden is on Rey to explain “what it is about his French heritage” that people are specifically at risk of misinterpreting “as a violation of workplace standards of acceptable conduct.”