A Quebec woman says she lost her fast-food job last week after management publicly humiliated her for speaking English to another employee.
The woman says a store manager at the Deux-Montagnes, Que., Valentine restaurant where she worked put up a note that openly ridiculed her for speaking English.
The note said employees are only to speak French to one another. It finished with "Thanks," and then named her specifically. "
They just have a note for all my co-workers to see," said the woman, who does not want to be identified because she is searching for a new job. "Everyone knew that that was for me."
She says she was shocked by the message and immediately became emotional. She left the restaurant soon after. She says she had no warning from management prior to the public note going up on Saturday. Most workplace issues are dealt with confidentially, she said. That's why the note came as such a shock. "If they do have a problem with employees, they take them into the office in the back and talk to them in private," she said. "They didn't even give me that decency."
"I was fighting not to cry and I had to get out of there because there was no way that I could have done my job in the state that I was in," she said.
She says the manager of Valentine called her home the next day, and told her husband they were beginning the process to end her employment. The manager did not offer a reason, she said.
"It was a big slap in the face," the woman said. "The note was pretty much my warning."
She now plans to file a complaint with Quebec's labour relations board.
In a phone conversation with CTV Montreal, the vice-president of Valentine said the store manager showed a serious lack of judgment. "We're definitely sorry about this situation," Valentine VP Francis Robin said Tuesday. "The post of that note was the decision of one person and does not reflect our company's values in any way."
Robin says the Valentine franchise owner in Deux-Montagnes is out of town, but he expects the woman will receive an apology when he returns. He also expects the owner to meet with the manager at that time. "The employee has the right to speak either French or English. We live in a free country," Robin said.
The former Valentine employee says she is perfectly bilingual and always spoke French when engaging with customers at the restaurant. She says she occasionally spoke English with another Anglophone employee in the back, but was never told to stop.
With files from CTV Montreal