French waiter claims he was fired for being too French

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Given the generic cultural stereotypes of the friendliness of Canadians and the snootiness of French waiters, perhaps this clash was inevitable: The CBC reported this week that a “French waiter in Vancouver says he was fired for his ‘direct, honest’ personality.”

Guillaume Rey, formerly of Milestones Restauarant, says he received praise from customers, though; it was his behavior with his coworkers that got him fired. Management said that he had an “aggressive tone and nature” with his colleagues, while Rey maintains he was merely “direct, honest and professional.” The firing stems from an incident in which Rey thought he was merely directing a server, who fled almost in tears to the restaurant manager’s office.

It’s cliche, but some cultural divides do seem to exist: When I was a hotel maid in England, I got asked out about every other day. I can’t prove it or anything, but I think it’s because all the businessmen at the hotel thought that I was hitting on them, as my friendly American manner was so far from their more-reserved English ones. So it’s possible that it was just Rey’s brusque Frenchness rubbed the Canadians the wrong way, which likely didn’t help the tension levels of a fast-paced work environment. He says that “he was being terminated because of his French culture,” which “tends to be more direct and expressive.”

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Rey has filed a complaint at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal against Milestones Restaurant and its parent company, Cara Operations. Sorry Guillaume, but filing a lawsuit against your former employers isn’t really helping your argument.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

justtoldmyparentsimgray
JustToldMyParentsImGray

I’m often criticized for an aggressive or too-direct tone. I suppose it’s my problem since I am part of the workplace, but I can’t help but notice the more confident or senior somebody is, the more he or she appreciates my style. The inverse also holds true.

Maybe I need to put a little more sugar on it, but you can only end so many work emails with exclamation points before you start feeling like a dingus.

“See you Monday, Mike.” = Asshole

“See you Monday, Mike!” = Mandatory, these days