Friday, June 7, 2013

AP: Whole Foods Employees Suspended For Speaking Spanish

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 11:00 AM

A spokesman for Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region, which includes Idaho, says his company's policy is to have a "uniform form of communication" in their stores.

"Our policy states that all English-speaking team members must speak English to customers and other team members while on the clock," Whole Foods' Ben Friedland told the Associated Press. “Team members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work.”

Friedland's remarks came in the wake of some other remarks—in Spanish—that got two New Mexico Whole Foods employees in hot water.

The AP reports that the two workers were suspended for a day in May after they worte a letter in response to a meeting with a supervisor, who told them they couldn't speak Spanish during work hours.

"I couldn't believe it," said Bryan Baldizan, one of the workers. "All we did was say we didn't believe the policy was fair. We only talk Spanish to each other about personal stuff, not work."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the United Latin American Citizens told the AP that the Whole Foods policy violates the New Mexico Constitution, which protects Spanish and indigenous languages.

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