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French waiter fired for rude behavior claims 'discrimination against my culture'

A waiter fired from a restaurant in Canada argues that his behavior stems from French culture, which is “more direct and expressive.” (Photo: MediaProductions/Getty Images)

French servers have long been portrayed as snooty and scowling. Now that stereotype is being used as a legal argument in a discrimination complaint.

As CBC News reports, French waiter Guillaume Rey has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal in Canada’s British Columbia after being fired from a Vancouver restaurant.

According to Milestones, the restaurant in question, Rey was let go after multiple warnings about his “aggressive, rude, and disrespectful” attitude, though the restaurant acknowledged that his job performance was otherwise satisfactory.


But Rey has argued that his behavior stems from his French culture, which is “more direct and expressive.” His termination, he charges, therefore amounts to “discrimination against my culture.”

He will have the opportunity to plead his case in an upcoming hearing, according to tribunal member Devyn Cousineau, who denied the restaurant’s application to have the complaint dismissed.

“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’s decision stated.

News of the case has been met with mixed reactions, with some expressing confusion as to why Rey would seek work in a country whose own behavioral stereotype is to be exceedingly nice. Others objected to him using his Gallic heritage as an excuse for being inhospitable.

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