Whole Foods disputes NM workers' language claims

Whole Foods disputes claims from workers who say they were suspended over 'no Spanish' rule

Associated Press
Whole Foods reviewing language policy amid NM flap
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A Whole Foods Market in Albuquerque, N.M. is shown Thursday June 6, 2013 during lunch time. Two employees at this Albuquerque store say they were suspended last month after complaining about being told they couldn't speak Spanish to each other while on the job. A spokesman for the the Austin, Texas-based company says it believes in "having a uniform form of communication" for a safe working environment. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Whole Foods Market Inc. is disputing claims from two employees at one of its Albuquerque stores, who say they were suspended last month after complaining about being told they couldn't speak Spanish to each other while on the job.

Bryan Baldizan says he and a female co-worker were suspended for a day last month after they wrote a letter following a meeting with a manager who told them Spanish wasn't allowed during work hours.

Baldizan says Whole Foods officials told them about company policy and issued the suspensions.

But Whole Foods Market spokeswoman Libba Letton says the store launched an investigation and found the workers misunderstood the reason for the suspensions.

She says the two were suspended with pay for being "disrespectful" in an office.

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