Whole Foods Faces Boycott Over English-Only Work Policy

Source: Russell Contreras /  NBC News

Whole Foods Market, threatened with a national boycott over its English-only language policy for workers on the job, said on Friday it was reviewing the rules after two Spanish-speaking workers in New Mexico claimed they were suspended for complaining.

The Austin, Texas-based organic grocery chain is re-examining the policy “and it will be the topic of ongoing conversations at an all-leadership conference next week,” company spokeswoman Libba Letton said in a statement.

The move comes after two employees at an Albuquerque Whole Foods store said they were suspended for a day after recently complaining about a company rule that forbids them from speaking Spanish to each other while on the job. But Letton said the store launched an investigation based on the claims and determined the employees misunderstood and were not told that they couldn’t speak Spanish.

She said the two were suspended with pay for being “rude and disrespectful” in an office. “Their suspension was due to their behavior alone,” she said.

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  • John Vaughn

    It really pisses me off, being born here and remembering my mother protesting and rallying so that I might have a better life, if that’s what I sought for myself down the road.

    If I migrated to another country, I damn well better make a point of knowing that country’s native language. Of the many problems we face as a country(USA), we are saddled with to many world-weary solutions. If one wants to come here, planning should be first on the list and assimilation should be in the top five things to do first. Hell, you can’t apprentice or intern at a job and expect to be hired, if you don’t learn the ins and outs of it. I’ve been at/in companies where, unless you are in the international division, the language you interact with must be English.

    Aside from management/corporate stating these employees “misunderstood” the rules as put forth, I think it’s probably better if these and others of their thinking just pool their funds, get a Whole Foods franchise and then express their right to speak in their native tongue. Problem solved. No inane boycott or court case.