Whole Foods Changes English-Only Store Policy

Martha White, NBC News, June 17, 2013

Aqui se habla espanol. Faced with a boycott, Whole Foods has revised its English-only language policy for employees on the job.

After two of the chain’s employees in New Mexico were temporarily suspended from work for speaking Spanish, they claimed, calls for a boycott prompted Whole Foods to change its company language policy.

In a blog post, Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb maintained that the two workers received one-day suspensions for unacceptable “workplace behavior,” not for speaking in Spanish as the two alleged.

But his post said that the issue had prompted the retailer, which tends to court a customer base known for more politically progressive views, to reevaluate its company handbook’s stance on English-language usage.

Previously, the company policy stipulated that employees must speak English “if you speak English and are in the presence of customers.” Conversations with other workers had to be in English “any time you are on the clock and discussing work-related tasks or subjects.”

The revision, which Robb said would be discussed at upcoming store meetings across the company, softens that wording.

“When speaking with customers or fellow Team Members, please make sure you are sensitive to others who may want to join your conversation or ask you a question. If needed, switch to a common language to be inclusive and respectful,” it said. Workers still are required to converse in English with shoppers “unless requested otherwise by the customer.”

“Sounds like it’s corporate revisionism,” said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, whose New Mexico chapter contacted Whole Foods after the incident. “For them to make a mistake of this magnitude means there are other problems,” he said. “A diverse company wouldn’t have done this.”

“They’re heading in the right direction, but we’re still not convinced they’ve done enough,” Wilkes said. “I think it should say use of Spanish in the workplace is encouraged… and the company values multilingualism as an asset.”

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  • WELL!!! That boycott works BOTH ways, doesn’t it?

    How about us white folks boycott Whole Foods if they capitulate to the demands of the League of United Latin American Citizens?

    • I can’t boycott Whole Paycheck, because my whole paycheck wouldn’t go far there anyway.

      • me

        No kidding! I can’t afford to shop at the hipster Whole Foods, either. Boy, it makes you wonder just how much food stamp money these squat monsters are getting…..Next, they’ll be demanding that “Hamlet” be performed in their bastardized version of the Spanish language. Will it never end? No. Not without a huge smack down.

        • saxonsun

          And they’re getting more than that. We see them in our Upper East Side neighborhood in NYC and they all have fancy SUVs. And these animals will demand until we put a stop to them .

    • saxonsun

      “Not keeping pace!!!” This country has extended the red carpet to these locusts. God help us, because we are not helping ourselves.

  • OhWow

    I could never imagine Mexico rejecting Spanish in favor for English. This country is lost.

  • There’s one that I used to shop at here in northern Colorado Springs; Dublin and Academy to be exact. I’m going to print a anti-Spanish diatribe – in English – fill a cart with frozen food, and then leave the cart with the paper on top in a warm part of the store.

    • evilsandmich

      In Colorado? Good luck with that; doubtful that anyone there will be able to read your diatribe if it isn’t en espanol.

  • Jefferson

    [QUOTE]“They’re heading in the right direction, but we’re still not convinced
    they’ve done enough,” Wilkes said. “I think it should say use of Spanish
    in the workplace is encouraged… and the company values multilingualism
    as an asset.”[/QUOTE]

    Why should speaking Spanish be encouraged at Whole Foods, when the vast majority of people who shop at Whole Foods are English speaking Gringos.

    The racial demographics who shop at Whole Foods are not as Brown as the racial demographics who shop at Target and Walmart.

  • I am guessing they said something insulting around a customer that the customer was able to slightly understand:

    Mire los pechos de aquella puta.
    Look at that whore’s breasts. (Paralink translation)

  • The__Bobster

    “Sounds like it’s corporate revisionism,” said Brent Wilkes, national executive director of the League of United Latin American Citizens, whose New Mexico chapter contacted Whole Foods after the incident. “For them to make a mistake of this magnitude means there are other problems,” he said. “A diverse company wouldn’t have done this.”

    __________

    Minorities and their enablers salivate over opportunities like this where they can push their agenda.

    BTW, Brent Wilkes? WTF?

    • evilsandmich

      I’m sure that Brent’s sister is a diversity expert who would be a perfect hire for Whore Foods.

  • The__Bobster

    Squat monsters like to use their own language when insulting their superiors or their customers. People like me who speak their language see it happen all the time.

  • The__Bobster

    In a blog post, Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb maintained that the two workers received one-day suspensions for unacceptable “workplace behavior,” not for speaking in Spanish as the two alleged.
    _________

    They were one-day PAID suspensions. How did you manage to omit that little fact, Martha?

    • Why is it only white people (males mostly) are suspended, whereas if the person is some sort of “privileged class” they are always suspended with pay?

      • saxonsun

        I hear and see them making comments and staring at white women all the time.

  • Greg Thomas

    The La Raza squat monsters keep pushing and nobody will push them back. I guess I have to cross Whole Foods off my list of places to shop.

    • saxonsun

      And don’t buy General Foods. That Cheerios commercial is nauseating.

      • Greg Thomas

        I don’t eat that garbage anyway. They were never on my list to begin with. I hope GF chokes on their beloved diversity.

  • JohnBoye

    There will be blowback from this decision. If the research was done I’m sure it would be found that among Hispanics ‘healthy eating’ is not the priority it is with ‘white folks’. There are a number of reasons for this, not just relatively low IQ. Where will this end? Will we be surrounded by the clicking noises of the Zulu speakers as we search for our granola? Is it discriminatory of us not to learn at least the basics the mother tongues of all the good folks who come to our shores to live the – er, Somali? – dream? As our work places come to resemble a Tower of Babel social cohesion will decline precipitously. Is that what the the puppeteers of our ‘masters’ want? Who could possibly benefit from a decline in homogeneity and a subsequent inability to resist the increasing control of every aspect of our lives? Haven’t figured it out yet?

  • Krister Andersson

    Something like this happened to me the last time I was in New York, I went to a deli to buy a sandwich and the man behind the counter greeted me in Spanish, now, I do not look latino since I have fair hair and complexion, I told him that I do not speak Spanish and started to order in English, he then got angry so I decided to leave and take my business elsewere.

    • saxonsun

      Good for you. If we all do this, things will change.

    • evilsandmich

      Yeah I gave up on Mexican places long ago, but I had to give up many of the local Chinese places too because they would have Chinese working the front, and hispanic employees of even more dubious immigration status working the back.

      • Krister Andersson

        That is just the thing, it was not a Mexican food place, it was a standard N.Y deli which makes it so bizarre and this individual behind the counter was rather combative and yelled insults in Spanish when I left, I of course reciprocated by saying insults in Swedish.

  • WF also sells cheap nuts and seeds.

  • evilsandmich

    I guess it’s good for ol’ Brent L. Wilkes since he’s a white guy trying to work into the black agitator role.

  • evilsandmich

    calls for a boycott

    By who? I’m sure that their five hispanic customers would find their way back in a few weeks.