Canada
Montreal transit employee suspended - again - for being rude to English riders

A subway train in Montreal's public transit system

Credits: JEAN-FRANCOIS VILLENEUVE/QMI AGENCY

QMI AGENCY

MONTREAL - Montreal's transit authority has once again suspended an employee who was rude to clients who spoke English. It's the employee's third suspension in six months.

The employee, who wanted to remain anonymous, told QMI Agency that while he refuses to speak English, he is always courteous with transit clients.

His bosses disagree, according to a document obtained by QMI.

The employee was first reproached in June for allegedly telling a subway user that "We don't speak English here," according to the transit authority document. He was given a two-day suspension.

The employee was suspended twice more for a total of eight days following two similar incidents.

"I feel denigrated," he told QMI Agency.

While employees of Montreal's transit authority aren't required to speak English as per Quebec law, the agency's rules of conduct insist employees must be respectful and civil towards transit users.

There have been a series of embarrassing disputes between employees and users involving language in the past several months.

A woman claimed in October that after she spoke English to a subway employee, she was told to "go back to your country." An argument ensued and the women said the employee put her in a headlock and punched her repeatedly.

Also in October, at least one transit user took a photo of a sign in a subway booth that read, in French: "In Quebec, we do things in French."

At least two other users have come forward in the past few months claiming to be mistreated for speaking English.

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