Tries to prevent client from driving drunk, gets fired
A Good Samaritan has lost her job at a South Shore restaurant for trying to prevent a drunk client from driving home by calling police to intervene.
Valérie Couturier, 23, said she told a clearly drunk patron he couldn't drive in his condition and suggested a taxi, but the man continued to head for his car.
"I called the police because I didn't want him to kill someone," Couturier said.
By the time police arrived, another restaurant client had convinced the man to hand over his keys and wallet.
A week later, Couturier was fired, saying the manager told her that her actions were unacceptable and they couldn't run the risk of being sued because it wouldn't be good for the reputation of the restaurant.
The restaurant owner and manager says they didn't fire Couturier for calling the police, which is actually a last resort that is part of their policy when dealing with clients who've had too much to drink and are driving home. But they would not elaborate on their reasons.
CJAD legal analyst Chris Dimakos said he doesn't understand that logic, adding bars and restaurants have an obligation to stop serving a client they know is drunk but that it's hard to prove.
"It's always difficult to prove that element because they didn't give him a breathlayzer test or might not have had a record of how many drinks they've had," Dimakos said.
The negative comments on the Facebook page of the restaurant continue to pile up, saying things such as she did the right thing and her civic duty, it was wrong and illogical for firing her and they won't be patronizing them anymore.
Photo: Bernard Brault, La Presse