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Excuse moi! Rude waiter case serves up lesson for employers


Everyone can have an off day at the office, but what if every day is an off day for one of your employees?

Guillaume Rey, a waiter in Canada, has been fired for being "aggressive" and "rude" towards his fellow staff members. But he has taken his employers to tribunal - claiming his sacking is discrimination because he's French.

He's filed a complaint with British Columbia's Human Rights Tribunal against his ex-employer and its parent company over his dismissal, claiming French culture "tends to be more direct and expressive".

But the restaurant says Mr Rey's behaviour violated workplace policy.

Tracy Worthington, Partner with the employment team at FBC Manby Bowdler, says the case may be overseas but there are lessons for employers to learn about dealing with cultural differences.

"The employee in this case says he was fired for his "direct, honest and professional personality" but his employers claim he was dismissed for the "aggressive tone and nature" used with fellow staff members at a Vancouver restaurant.

"There's no doubt that cultural differences can add to the dynamism of the workplace, bringing in new ideas and approaches. But employers need to make clear what is acceptable and ensure good policies and training in place so that the lines between firm management and direct speaking to colleagues and bullying are absolutely clear.

"We can support employers looking to update their employment policies and of course, provide the relevant training if required. At FBC Manby Bowdler, we pride ourselves on providing advice which is 'direct, honest and professional' as well as being polite!"

For more information, contact Tracy on 01902 392476 or

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