After alleged termination from restaurant, Montreal woman calls for change

MONTREAL – A waitress who said she was fired from her job at a Boucherville restaurant is taking to the airwaves to plead for a change in Quebec law.

Valérie Couturier has coupled up with Éducalcool to call for rules mandating waiters and waitresses take a four-hour training course before they can serve alcohol.

“I think that we should be more informed about what’s the law and what we should do in this case,” she said.

On Aug. 16, Couturier says she was at the bar as a customer on her day off, and was accompanied by a designated driver. She says she stopped a drunk patron from driving when she called the police before he could get in his car. Afterward, she says she was fired by her employer at the Chêne Blanc restaurant.

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“She did exactly what she was supposed to do. And instead of getting a raise or a promotion, she gets fired,” said Hubert Sacy of Éducalcool.

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“This is the absurdity of things.”

The manager at the restaurant declined to comment for this story.

Not everyone is onboard with mandatory training, however. According to the Quebec Restaurant Association – which represents 4,500 restaurants – constant turnover and attrition makes obligatory courses impractical.

“We think it’s too complex to train 80,000 in the industry,” said Dominique Tremblay, the ARQ spokesperson. “We agree with the training but not mandatory training for all the staff.”

One substantial grey area that arose from the situation is liability. According to the ARQ, the restaurant would not be liable for serving alcohol if the patron killed someone behind the wheel. But, according to Sacy, it could be.

Attorneys have different opinions on the matter as well.

Sacy says regardless of liability, the moral decision should remain the same.

“It’s never a problem to save a life. Never. Saving a life is never a problem,” he said. “Killing somebody is a problem.

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