A Whole Foods Market store in Albuquerque reportedly suspended two employees for violating the company's "English-only" policy by speaking Spanish to each other during work hours.
According to one of the employees, Bryan Baldizan, the one-day suspension was handed to him and a female employee after they complained to a manager about the policy.
In a statement to the press, Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region Executive Marketing Coordinator, said the company, based in Austin, Texas, has a policy requiring all "Team Members" to "speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock."
He said the policy ensures "a safe working environment" by promoting "a uniform form of communication."
"Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work," Friedland added.
However, after news of the policy and its consequences broke and a significant backlash ensued, Letton released a follow-up statement claiming the employees were not suspended for speaking Spanish or complaining about the policy, but rather for "rude and disrespectful behavior both in an office and in the store in front of customers."
She further walked back Friedland's statement that employees "must speak English," saying the word "must" was an "overstatement."
[photo via AP]