A gas station employee in Montreal who allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks to a client has been fired and the owner has made a public apology.
The incident allegedly took place on March 23 at the Shell station at the corner of Décarie Boulevard and Van Horne Avenue.
A Jewish woman posted on Facebook that a pump attendant insulted her using anti-Semitic sayings in Arabic, a language she understands.
The post went viral, said David Ouellette, Quebec deputy director of public affairs for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). “From what she reported, the remarks were clearly anti-Semitic.… People were very upset.… She was overwhelmed with the response.”
One of the people who reached out to her right away was the station’s owner, Alladin Gouader. On March 25, Ouellette convened a meeting between the woman and Gouader. “The owner, who is Tunisian, was very responsive,” said Ouellette.
Gouader issued the following statement: “I myself was appalled by my employee’s egregious behaviour and have taken immediate steps to fire him. My goal is to serve the public in a professional and respectful manner and I hold all my employees to these same high standards.
“I want to use this opportunity to express my profound apologies to the Montreal Jewish community and all Montrealers who were offended by this behaviour, and to reiterate my commitment to ensuring it will not happen again.”
The station does have a large Jewish clientele and was the site of another allegedly anti-Semitic exchange involving two young Orthodox men in 2014. Ouellette noted, however, that Gouader was not the owner at that time, as he bought the station in 2016.
The dismissed employee acknowledged that how he spoke to the woman was inappropriate, but denied saying anything disparaging about Jews, according to Ouellette’s information.
The woman has removed the Facebook post and has asked that her name not be made public, as she is satisfied with the resolution of the issue.
CIJA Quebec co-chair Rabbi Reuben Poupko said that, “We applaud the immediate response of Mr. Gouader, who took responsibility for the actions of his employee and took immediate action. His commitment to his customers and the community he serves are admirable.”