A Montreal waitress claims she was fired from her job after she called the police to report an intoxicated customer who refused to take a cab.
One week later, 23-year-old Valérie Couturier said her bosses told her she had to be let go because she had hurt their reputation and opened them up to potential lawsuits.
On Aug. 16, Couturier finished her shift at Le Chêne Blanc in Boucherville, on Montreal’s South Shore. She stayed in the restaurant to celebrate a friend’s birthday. At 1:30 a.m. she noticed an intoxicated customer getting into his car.
“Me and my friend tried to stop him and ask him if he wanted to call a cab,” she said, but he didn’t want to leave his car there. That’s when she called police.
Officers drove the man home and no charges were filed.
Couturier says she doesn’t understand why she was fired from her job of eight months.
“They told me what I did was inacceptable,” she said. “They said they didn’t have a choice other than to fire me.”
Restaurant owners said the incident was part of why she was dismissed, but there were other problems with Couturier.
“It’s not the fact that she [tried to stop] someone who was intoxicated,” said Dave Baillargeon, co-owner of Le Chêne Blanc. “But, unfortunately, I can’t tell you for the moment why because of the risk of litigation.”
“It’s not really great what happened to me,” Couturier said, but she doesn’t want her job back. "I have to find another job, and I was just starting school after this, so this is not great.”
She said she worries that now people will be afraid to intervene if they see someone trying to drive drunk.
“What I want to do is really to change things ... Maybe if some changes are made … people would not be afraid to call police."