On June 26, 20-year-old Loris Taboureau, was working at Les Chariots Gourmands, a food stand selling waffles at Disney Paris, when he refused to add two toppings to a customer’s waffle. The customer in question requested both Nutella and whipped cream, but Taboureau told the customer that according to policy, he was only allowed to offer one or the other.
That guest filed a complaint with Disney Paris, stating that Taboureau was “nonchalant” and they were extremely disappointed with the service they received, and the lack of Nutella on their waffle.
Here’s where the story gets interesting: On August 14, Taboureau was fired for the incident, but the young Frenchman has spoken to the media claiming that his termination had nothing to do with the Nutella waffle, and everything to do with his involvement in industrial action strikes early this year.
The strikes, which are legal due to French strike laws, lasted through May and June of this year. Taboureau and his fellow protestors from Disney were asking for roughly a $2,600 increase in annual salaries for Disney Paris employees.
Since the strikes, which are due to resume in September, Disney Paris has reportedly fired five employees on apparent “false premises” who participated in the strikes, including Taboureau. Of course, Taboureau’s story has now made headlines across Parisian newspapers as many feel his termination was unjust.
Taboureau told French newspaper, Le Parisien, “I’m upset. It’s a company in which I liked to work and to which I dedicated my days for a year. The only time I failed to bring the magic to life, I was immediately fired.”
He also wanted to make it exceptionally clear that the reason why he denied the customer both Nutella and whipped cream on their waffle is because he was trying to do his job. The waffle stand’s policy clearly states that each customer only receives on topiing.
Taboureau went on to explain that if he had given the disgruntled customer both toppings, the other guests in view of the situation would have expected the same. As many people now know due to media attention, Disney theme parks around the world have extremely detailed policies that employees are required to follow to the letter.
So was Taboureau fired due to the waffle incident or because he went on strike to ask for a higher salary for himself and his coworkers? No one really knows. Though when asked to comment on the situation, Disney refused.
A spokesperson for Disney Paris told the media, “We do not comment on internal procedures related to individual situations.”
When the strikes continue in September, it’s likely that many more Disney Paris employees will join the picket line. Whether or not another round of terminations will occur after the strikes is still up in the air, but if Disney Paris continues to let go employees who are legally within their rights to strike, this story may get a whole lot bigger.