UPDATE: IGA manager in language flap suspended

Posted By: CJAD · 6/27/2013 7:39:00 PM

More fallout from that story involving an IGA store in south shore Saint Lambert and its supposedly stringent use of French.

The manager who was recorded saying French was the only language to be spoken on the floor by employees has been suspended.

Former worker Meaghan Moran recorded the conversation with her superior, which you can listen to below.

The 17-year-old St. Hubert girl says she quit her job at that IGA outlet after only one day on the job because they would not allow her to speak English to her co-workers.

A store official denied Moran's claims, insisting employees can speak English or any other language amongst themselves and that the matter has been blown out of proportion.

Photo: Facebook


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  1. Jim posted on 06/27/2013 07:56 PM
    They are trying to minimize the situation and find the simplest solution to sweep it under the rug and avoid accountability. The manager was apparently suspended, not fired. Makes for a good scapegoat. Don't tell me that Mme. Morin did not know what the policies were in their own store and there seems to be sufficient evidence in the recorded conversation that this is the case. They are obviously lying when they claim the contrary. The manager was not fired. For all we know, he took the fall and may get a paid (under the table) vacation out of this for helping to divert attention. As far as I am concerned, the boycott of IGA and Sobeys should continue until there is an outright admission of responsibility and there is(verifiable) assurances that this will never happen again.
    1. LMAO posted on 06/28/2013 09:25 AM
      @Jim "Mme. Morin did not know what the policies were in their own store"
      Even more reason to not shop there as she obviously has no interest in the business. Food is food and you can buy it anywhere, one thing Bill 101 can't stop you from doing. Loblaw's is going to be real happy with my custom from now onward.
  2. David posted on 06/27/2013 08:38 PM
    This sounds like 2 managers terrorizing a 17 year old kid with false statements about laws, the OLF and Marois. From now on IGA gets NONE of my business. I hope this girl gets a good lawyer and cleans up on this!
    1. heather posted on 06/27/2013 09:15 PM
      @David three cheers for Meghan ! you stood up for your rights , I will never ever shop in iga ever again , that woman should be fired .
  3. Dave Mills posted on 06/27/2013 09:24 PM
    Funny thing: the IGA near my house has a couple of cashiers who seemingly don't understand when you are asking them a question in English, you might like a response in the same fashion. And then they look like you may be wearing 3 heads. Last time I checked, they weren't giving me anything for free so the very least they can do is be respectful. Unfortunately, the way things are now, there can be no rolling over and/or being run over. Simple respect!!
  4. Benito posted on 06/27/2013 09:32 PM
    thats rediculos dealing with the people in the store means its only a french language is accepted
  5. RykE posted on 06/27/2013 09:46 PM
    IGA/Sobeys statement that this is a local, store level issue, and not the problem of hte franchisor is an absolute insult. It also sends a clear message to other franchise owners that they are at will to violate the rights of employees with impunity.

    The franchisee in St. Lambert, who is licensing the IGA brand through their franchise agreement, has devalued the IGA brand for both the franchisor and other franchisees,

    As consumers, the most powerful tool we have is our right to protest the inaction of IGA corporate, by bringing our business elsewhere.
  6. Joe posted on 06/27/2013 09:56 PM
    Why is this separatist b----h raising her voice trying to intimidate a 17 year old girl. Well she bit off more than she could chew because this girl was smart enough to record them. I will not shop a any IGA until she is fired not suspended for intimidation. Again this shows MR LISEE we are not all equal no matter which shovel you use to try and pile it up with, its always the same old crap. How can you get us to like the pure laine, when the pure laine cannot stand us. Clean up your own yard before trying to come into ours.
  7. Fred posted on 06/27/2013 10:00 PM
    I think it's time to call the supermarket and see how happily they would take our orders and $$$$$$$ for delivery.. I bet they would happily speak English for the dough...But on the other hand i will just go down the road to Maxi or Metro...
  8. Maria posted on 06/27/2013 10:36 PM
    Exactly, they are trying to sweep it under the carpet. It was all in the conversation between Meagan and her supervisor. And suspending the supervisor does not put Ms Menard in the clear. After all, who makes the decisions. Even her statement said that she requests that all employees speak one language. I am fluently trilingual and good conversation in a fourth language. Greek decent born here in Montreal, and I have two boys, born here, second generation and they are fluently trilingual as well - they read, speak and write English, French and Greek. Know their roots, traditions etc. If minorities such as us can maintain our heritage, I for the life of me cannot understand these people. Not all, as I know many French-Canadians, which are well educated, both school and socially, speak both languages and in fact would send their children to English schools if they could. But those who make all the noise, and make the rest look bad, including our PM is unacceptable in this day and age. Since when does language or background rule who can or cannot do or fulfill a job or position? I totally stand behind Meagan. I would do the same, but not quit. I would stay on, serve the customers in the language of THEIR choice, and then speak with my colleagues in whichever language is most comfortable between us... let her fire me then...!

    What a disgrace we are becoming here in Montreal and Quebec in general. We have no roads, taxes are through the roof, politicians are being revealed to be corrupt daily, and all our government is worried about is if the sign says pasta or pates, fermé or closed.... really and in France the stop signs say : STOP. Time for some people to get their priorities straight and to stop trying to hide behind their employees.
    1. M Joao posted on 06/29/2013 07:43 AM
      @Maria Maria, i agree 100% with you. Me and my kids, we speak also 3 languages, and my oldest one she learned also a bit of german and italian. We talk to everybody depending of their language, also where i work most of us speak in english and theres a french guy (quebecois), who barely speak english, but he tries to speak in english and wants to learn more english. This fight has to have an end for people here in Quebec live in peace
  9. Glen posted on 06/27/2013 11:00 PM
    That's it for me! No more shopping at IGA nor Sobey's. If they cannot stand up and do what is right, then I will bring my dollar elsewhere. Freedom of language should be universal, as it is even in communist countries. At minimum, IGA should support a bilingual platform in its stores in the Montreal area, and not hire employees who suppress basic rights and freedoms.
  10. Elias posted on 06/27/2013 11:05 PM
    Many are suggesting a boycott of Sobeys IGA. The boycott should be for the individual store in St-Lambert, not the group as a whole. Specifically any store owned by Ms Menard. Enough is enough with the continuous provocation and harassment of all non francophone Quebecers!!
    1. Joe posted on 06/28/2013 09:20 AM
      @Elias Sorry to disagree, but by putting the pressure on all IGA's it will put them in a position to put more pressure to fire these bigots, and they might hold investigations on other stores, and it might force others to do the same.
  11. kathy posted on 06/27/2013 11:35 PM
    I won't be shopping at IGA any more. Meagan hats off to you!
  12. diane posted on 06/27/2013 11:57 PM
    if the 17 year old has the conversation on tape, they why are they declining her claim. She has proof right there, and I do hope she gets a good lawyer, and fights this, and win big time. Glad she did record it, This is getting way out of hand. I am sure they have told other employees the same thing, but nobody stepped forward and made the complaint...Good for her, I am happy finally someone has brought this to the media attention.
  13. samantar posted on 06/28/2013 02:29 AM
    I used to live in Montreal . I have left because of the tribalism of the Quebec French-speaking natives. I am originally from east Africa and know what tribalism is when I see one! Most Canadians are too polite to admit Canada has full-blown tribalism masquerading as language protection ! I am glad I am not in that province any more!
  14. John Connor posted on 06/28/2013 06:01 AM
    A strategy unveiled is no strategy

    The HR Manager was simply a scapegoat thrown under the bus by Louise Menard the IGA Store Owner

    Suspending her is simply a token gesture as an attempt to diffuse the situation since yet again we made it to the National News looking like a bunch of Xenophobic bumpkins.

    Menard should be taken to task as her people are simply apply her policies -> written or unwritten.

    She got a call from IGA Management and J-P Lisee telling her she was exposing the reality of what is Quebec and needed to fix it.

    Her apology was total BS.

    IGA should put a BILINGUAL notice in ALL their stores that they fully support ALL languages and cultures as their policy
    1. Louise posted on 06/28/2013 12:54 PM
      @John Connor Same policy exists at Complexe Desjardins store which surprisingly enough is owned by Mme Menard. Employees are required to sign a letter agreeing to not speak English
    2. Rose posted on 06/29/2013 07:45 PM
      @John Connor Agreed!! One sure way to fix this mess is to advertise that they support all languages....and this should be written in English and French with both languages in the same size!!!!!
  15. Catt posted on 06/28/2013 08:19 AM

    Whoop de doo.

    Store owner should stand in front of her IGA and apologize in French and English.

    Montreal is a multilingual city.

    That's what makes us unique, awesome, creative.

    Does Meaghan have a new job?

    Follow up?
  16. Mark posted on 06/28/2013 09:26 AM
    Kind of makes you proud being a Quebecer, doesn't it? Separatists will go to all means to further their cause. This criminal intimidation of a 17 year old in the name of the french cause, is just one small example of everyday life here in La Belle Province. I hope this girl takes both IGA and her two managers to the Human Rights Commission.
  17. Sir Cumference posted on 06/28/2013 10:59 AM
    Very courageous young woman. Bravo, Bravo, Bravo, for putting the idiots in their place. When are these immature people going to grow up and learn that they are not too intelligent in thinking the way they do. Especially in this case, supposedly "Managers?". LOL . To all of these people I say "Grow up and get a life" and it might help to know the law before shooting off your mouth. As the old saying goes "Before shooting off your mouth, make sure your brains are loaded".
  18. louise posted on 06/28/2013 11:43 AM
    This IGA store is owned by the same owner who owns at least 2 other stores in the downtown Montreal area. the same policy exists in these 2 stores. I believe the HR manager is being made a ascapegoat.
    This policy comes from the top
  19. Louise posted on 06/28/2013 12:09 PM
    Of course we are no longer shopping at IGA. However, the repercussions are enormous if each of us make our voices heard. AFTER ALL A LANGUAGE IS SIMPLY A COMMUNICATION TOOL. Are you going to ask us to THINK IN FRENCH next ?!?

    I certainly speak French (among 4 other languages) my husband is French, too. We loved it when it was "LA BELLE PROVINCE" ... we respected Renee Lavesque.
    They changed it to "JE ME SOUVIENS" Oh, yes we all know what Quebec became! It is appalling that whenever Party Quebecois comes to power, they create hatred. Divide and conquer is their motto! Meanwhile the tax base leaves Quebec... the rest who have no option but stay are easier to control! And control is their aim.

    A 17 year old should never be bullied the way she was by a small racist supervisor!

    A group of power hungry politicians stir the pot of nationalism while they fill their pockets. As journalists aim directly at the power sources, will you? >> How did Pauline Marois acquire so much money? Do some research on her husband's history of monetary gains?

    As journalists you have the 'carte blanche' to address issues. Use your CJAD leadership power, too.
  20. Louise posted on 06/28/2013 12:27 PM
    I'm French-Canadian born in St-Lambert and i"m boycotting all IGA stores. Sounds like the two Managers terrorized Meghan and they should be fired. IGA/Sobey's should reconsider and improve their Human Resources Management practices and policies...
  21. Angered Consumer posted on 06/28/2013 03:20 PM
    Dear IGA/Sobeys,
    I wanted to let you know that due to recent issues pertaining to language and store owners telling employees they are not allowed to speak English during their breaks I intend to stop shopping at my local IGA store until IGA Quebec demonstrate that they do not agree with the manner in which Louise Menard recommends her employees speak only French on the premises of her workplace. The late apology created by a public relations firm (Tact) which followed an initial denial is not enough and only goes to show Ms.Menards ignorance towards her employees and the laws that govern Quebec and Canada.
    Although this may seem like a small matter to some, I feel that recommending a language be spoken on break by making it the policy of the stores is similar to imposing it since employees are evaluated on how well they follow instructions.
  22. Ingrid posted on 06/28/2013 03:39 PM
    Et voila! proof that the language of intolerance, bigotry and narrow mindness is the predominant language in Quebec these days. shame. I am 100% fluent in French & English and consider it my right to speak in whatever language i choose to. Shame on the IGA to intimidate a 17 yr old employee with erroneous information. IGA Corporate do the right thing and apologize for your store and perhaps give some indication that you are educating your staff and franchises. Till i see some acknowledgement and apology.. ..Ciao IGA ! and Bonjour Loblaws ! i will even send these greetings to their corporate website, others should send along the same greetings at http://www.iga.net/en/contact/contact_us/
  23. Jean Tremblay posted on 06/28/2013 06:06 PM
    I agree with the boycott. This is little more than intimidation of a young employee. This behaviour by management would not be condoned anywhere else in the world. If they are upholding a law by threatening her employment (manager's statement: the boss who signs the cheque is francophone). This means then that such a law is violating this young woman's constitutional rights as a Canadian. Not every Quebecker is a born native and immigrants have an equal right to express themselves in their desired language. It is preposterous to propose that the English language is taboo in a place of employment on the off chance that someone may overhear English being spoken. It is not an offends to be who you are and express yourself as you wish. English will not bring harm to any francophone. They have taken a law which was to uphold the preservation of the French language (with which I agree) and turned it into a legal right to marginalize the rights of anglophones living in Quebec. Again, unconstitutional. Instead of beating up on the English, continue teaching your own children to speak and write French properly and open your mind to being an International neighbour who respects everyone's civil rights. What is happening now is a reversal of the oppression the Québécois were subjected to in the mid-20th century. That was equally wrong. Show some maturity and empathy and do not repeat the oppressive errors of the past.
  24. Kevin posted on 06/28/2013 07:52 PM
    This is Canada, I can't believe this is happening in our Country! Discrimination is ugly in any language. Good for you for standing up for yourself. IGA's management should be ashamed of themselves.
  25. Damien Biot-Pelletier posted on 06/29/2013 08:35 AM
    Sovereingtist billingual francophone here:

    Direction of the Saint-Lambert store was clearly wrong and I'm glad people were sanctionned. I trust that corrections will be brought, and if not, I hope that more sanctions will help steer things in the right direction. People should be free to speak english or any other language together if they wish. Such is the spirit and the letter of Quebec law. These store managers are either ignorant of the law or willingly twisted it, trying to mislead a young person cynically assumed to be ignorant.

    That being said, all the people on this comment thread calling for a complete boycott of Sobey's-owned stores are way over the top. Revoking a franchise is excessive in the circumstances. Firing the people demonstrated to be at fault is a reasonnable and fair sanction, and will serve as a deterrent for those tempted to follow the same path.

    I don't think it is in anyone's interest to fuel ethnolinguistic hatred, and this event has the potential to do just that. Punish the faulty, fix the wrongs, and move on. Then, we - francophones and anglophones - can continue to live together in this place, and continue to have civilized political debates and disagreements, not letting the idiots, on both sides, contaminate the conversation.
    1. ivan posted on 06/29/2013 07:36 PM
      @Damien Biot-Pelletier I sincerely appreciate the perspective that you put forward, however put yourself in my shoes, and educated bilingual anglo Quebecer and incidentally these labels have always disgusted me.Bill 101 may have been necessary at one time back in the 70's but now things have gone way too far. In the interests of your culture and language can you honestly with a straight face support a society that encourages anonymous complaints, language police, who are currently pursuing imbecilic complaints as part of their mandate, a premier whether she like it or not is supposed to represent all Quebecois that agrees that certain others like Sikhs should yank off their turbans if they want to play soccer, by the way in the U.S she would have had to resign over such poor judgement. Sovereignty aspirations whether you accept the hard reality is killing Quebec and in the age of Social media you cannot hide anymore. No great society ever lasted by denigrating another. Les autres are under siege, and we don't deserve it. Read bill 14 it is completely unnecessary and does absolutely nothing positive for the Quebec economy. Take a long hard look in the mirror the radicals of the PQ are in charge encouraging and fostering a very uncomfortable and inhospitable environment for those that are not like them. Once they are done with us I guarantee they will turn their attention to dissenters within their own ranks just like you and your family. You might follow the pope but you may not be Catholic enough.
    2. Jim posted on 07/01/2013 04:35 PM
      @Damien Biot-Pelletier I appreciate your openness and good intentions; however, to punish a manager who was following the store owners policies will not address the problem. Listen to the recorded conversation and the reports of the same policies being implemented in other IGAs owned by Mme. Menard. You cannot blame this on the manager(s). Should we fire the owner of the store Mme. Menard? Of course, we cannot do that. It is essential that she be held accountable. How do we do that if she cannot be fired...hold her eligibility as a franchise owner in question as she is misrepresenting the brand name for which she stands (IGA and Sobeys). Unless, of course, IGA and Sobeys are willing to stand behind her policies. I think not. In that case, how about some accountability for the illegal infringement of human rights? I would be satisfied if her right to franchisement be revoked. That would send a very clear and definitive message that would get everyone in similar situations thinking twice before doing something like this again. Next step, take the issue beyond Québec to see if there are any similar occurrences happening in other provinces in Canada and call for similar actions. I believe that this should be a Canadian value that should be strongly upheld by the public from sea to sea to sea. Rather than fuel ethno-linguistic tensions, this may be a potential movement to bring us all together in defense of our private liberties. If many English and French speaking people have come to live together in harmony in Québec and can stand as an example for others in other parts of Canada, shouldn't we be responsible enough to see the positive aspects of looking out for each others rights. Just because we are extremely vocal about this issue does not imply that we are adopting an "us against them" mentality.
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