Guillaume Rey, who worked at a Vancouver restaurant, said his dismissal represented a case of “discrimination against my culture”, which he said tended to be “more direct and expressive”.
He said he carried out his duties at the eatery with an “honest and professional personality”, and disputed a claim he violated its code of conduct by acting aggressively towards his colleagues.
Mr Rey said he had garnered “great feedback from guests” and had been praised for being “very friendly and professional with his tables”.
But the restaurant, owned by Cara Operations, accused Mr Rey of persisting with his allegedly unacceptable behaviour despite receiving verbal and written performance reviews.
According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the incident that led to his dismissal took place in August 2016, when Mr Rey asked one of his fellow waiters to complete his duties.
Mr Rey insists he was courteous, but the restaurant manager has said the other waiter came into her office “borderline in tears” after Mr Rey “aggressively” checked on his duties.
British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal has granted the waiter a hearing to make his case, having denied an application by his former bosses to have the complaint thrown out.
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Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau said: “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.”
She added the decision to deny the application by Cara Operations should not be seen as an indication of the outcome of the case.