Whole Foods Responds to @julito77 About Store’s Language Policy

Jun 6, 2013
9:28 PM

In an opinion column for NBC Latino this afternoon, Latino Rebels founder @julito77 received official comments from Whole Foods’ Media Relations team regarding an Associated Press story published earlier today by NBC Latino where two Whole Foods employees in New Mexico claimed that they were suspended a day’s work for speaking Spanish during work hours.

The initial story we ran this morning went viral, and it was also tweeted out by the Twitter profile of Immortal Technique.


Here is what Whole Foods Libba Letton said via email:

At Whole Foods Market,

  • We do not have “no foreign languages spoken” policies in ANY of our stores.
  • Our approach is that the default language is English, for consistent communication, inclusion, and especially for safety and emergency situations.
  • We are proud of our multilingual TMs [Team Members] and try to work with customers in other languages whenever needed!
  • We recently had an incident where two TMs became upset when they believed they were told in a team meeting they could not speak Spanish at work. They misunderstood. Due to their rude and disrespectful behavior both in an office and in the store in front of customers, they were suspended with pay. Their suspension was due to their behavior alone.
  • The store launched a full investigation based on their claims. Seventeen Team Members who attended the meeting confirmed that the language policy was discussed, and that at no time were they told they could not speak Spanish.

You can read the rest of Julito’s NBC Latino column here.