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French Waiter Cites Cultural Differences for Being Rude


The following incident provides a great case study for the influence of cultural differences.

Guillaume Rey, a French waiter, was sacked from his job in a Canadian restaurant for being ‘aggressive, rude and disrespectful’

Upset by the sacking Rey believes his employers simply did not understand French culture. A complaint was filed against his previous employer, (Vancouver restaurant on Canada’s Pacific coast), under British Columbia’s 'Human Rights Tribunal', in which the waiter claimed  “discrimination against my culture”.

Rey stated that French culture just “tends to be more direct and expressive”. He added that his unfair dismissal was due to his “direct, honest and professional personality”, which he learned in France’s hospitality industry.

 The restaurant owner on the other hand sees it all differently claiming Rey violated its code of conduct and that he persisted in his behavior despite reviews and warnings. Both parties agree Rey performed well at his job despite his allegedly disagreeable demeanour.

The restaurant had attempted to dismiss the complaint but a yet unscheduled hearing will be taking place. She said the application’s denial should not be seen as an indication of the case’s outcome.

 Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau stated that, “Mr Rey will have to explain what it is about his French heritage that would result in behaviour that people misinterpret as a violation of workplace standards of acceptable conduct."  

Well, let's wait and see what happens and if Mr Rey manages to convince the tribunal that his French upbringing and professional training are the reasons behind his apparent rudeness. In fact, he could have an argument to make although it is more than likely the tribunal will argue that "when in Rome, you do as the Romans do".

Photo by Kate Townsend on Unsplash

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