03/26/2018 16:17 EDT | Updated 03/26/2018 16:25 EDT

Vancouver Milestones Waiter Fired For Being Aggressive: I’m Not Rude, I’m French

Guillaume Rey said French culture "tends to be more direct and expressive."

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A Milestones restaurant is seen in Whistler, B.C. in 2013. Guillaume Rey, a former waiter at a Milestones in Vancouver, says he was fired because of his French culture.

A French waiter says that he was fired from a Vancouver Milestones restaurant because of his culture, which co-workers unfairly perceived as rudeness and aggression.

Guillaume Rey has taken his complaint to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In a written decision dated March 7, the tribunal denied the restaurant's attempt to have Rey's complaint dismissed on the basis that it had no reasonable chance of succeeding.

Milestones agreed that Rey was good at his job, the decision states, but says that he was spoken to multiple times about his conduct toward co-workers. Rey was reprimanded for having arguments with other staff and "bothering" management. He was temporarily suspended from work and then terminated in August 2017.

'Discrimination against my culture'

"The General Manager told Mr. Rey that he was being terminated for being aggressive toward other staff members. During this meeting, Mr. Rey said that he was being terminated because of his French culture," the decision says. "This was repeated in an email to Human Resources, in which Mr. Rey alleged that the accusations against him were 'discrimination against my culture', which 'tends to be more direct and expressive.'"

Milestones denies discriminating against Rey, and says in the decision that he was fired because his behaviour violated a workplace policy on respectful behaviour.

The case will go to hearing, where Rey will have to explain why his French heritage could be misinterpreted as a violation of workplace standards.

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