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Whole Foods' Ban on Spanish

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posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 05:07 PM
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Two employees claim that they were suspended from Whole Foods in Albuquerque, after they wrote a letter complaining for being told that they couldn't speak in Spanish to each other during their shifts. The company has an English only policy for workers.

Whole Foods Allegedly Suspends Workers For Complaining About Spanish-Speaking Ban

Ben Friedland, Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region Executive Marketing Coordinator, said the Austin, Texas-based company believes in "having a uniform form of communication" for a safe working environment.

"Therefore, our policy states that all English speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock," Friedland said in a statement. "Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work."

Friedland said the policy doesn't prevent employees from speaking Spanish to customers who don't speaking English nor does it prevent them from speaking Spanish if all "parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication."


I think that's fair. I've worked in situations where many of my co-workers spoke Spanish, even through their English was just fine. It always made me feel left out of their "private" club. I think employers might be a little put off, as well, not knowing what their employees are discussing on the clock.



"I couldn't believe it," said Baldizan, who works in the store's food preparation department. "All we did was say we didn't believe the policy was fair. We only talk Spanish to each other about personal stuff, not work."


Right! "Personal stuff" that's not for the manager's ears, or other snoopy workers who might be waiting for you to bring that box up to the front!

This time, I'm on Whole Food's side. What do you folks think?



edit on 6-6-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 05:13 PM
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reply to post by windword
 


Much ado about nothing.

If the policy is blue shirts you wear blue shirts not black.
If the policy is to speak english then speak english.

If they don't like the rule they can find another job.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by windword
 
I agree with you. If other employees do not speak Spanish it probably makes them uncomfortable when their co-workers speak Spanish with each other in front of them. Not to mention that many times at different businesses I have heard employees speaking Spanish and several times they were talking ugly about fellow employees, their bosses or customers.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 05:36 PM
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I agree. If the company makes that policy, and the employee chooses to not abide by it....then they take the consequences. I don't think having everyone speak English is an unfair policy at all.

Many times I've been to restaurants or other places where the workers chatted in Spanish while serving my family or ringing up the groceries or whatever. It can be disconcerting, because you feel like maybe the folks are talking about you.

Of course, speaking Spanish helps. Sometimes you hear nice things, like the time the waiter told his friend I had a nice a$$...not realizing my husband is fluent and I can hold my own. That was an interesting conversation that followed!



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by windword
Two employees claim that they were suspended from Whole Foods in Albuquerque, after they wrote a letter complaining for being told that they couldn't speak in Spanish to each during their shifts. The company has an English only policy for workers.

Whole Foods Allegedly Suspends Workers For Complaining About Spanish-Speaking Ban

Ben Friedland, Whole Foods Market Rocky Mountain Region Executive Marketing Coordinator, said the Austin, Texas-based company believes in "having a uniform form of communication" for a safe working environment.

"Therefore, our policy states that all English speaking Team Members must speak English to customers and other Team Members while on the clock," Friedland said in a statement. "Team Members are free to speak any language they would like during their breaks, meal periods and before and after work."

Friedland said the policy doesn't prevent employees from speaking Spanish to customers who don't speaking English nor does it prevent them from speaking Spanish if all "parties present agree that a different language is their preferred form of communication."


I think that's fair. I've worked in situations where many of my co-workers spoke Spanish, even through their English was just fine. It always made me feel left out of their "private" club. I think employers might be a little put off, as well, not knowing what their employees are discussing on the clock.



"I couldn't believe it," said Baldizan, who works in the store's food preparation department. "All we did was say we didn't believe the policy was fair. We only talk Spanish to each other about personal stuff, not work."


Right! "Personal stuff" that's not for the manager's ears, or other snoopy workers who might be waiting for you to bring that box up to the front!

This time, I'm on Whole Food's side. What do you folks think?

edit on 6-6-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)


This company is ********, that said.

I'm sorry you feel left out - but you could learn spanish.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 05:48 PM
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reply to post by FyreByrd
 


The company hired them with the understanding they would speak English. It is not the company's responsibility to require its workers to learn a new language. It is the employee's responsibility to follow the conditions they agreed to when they were hired.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 06:55 PM
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Sitting high on the fence post about this one.

My wife is from Chile, has been here seven years, and speaks English quite well. However, she's able to express herself better and remains much more articulate in Spanish. There are still subjects and ideas that she has a hard time explaining, and if a situation were to arise at work, and she were in the company of another native Spanish speaker, it'd be natural for them to revert to Spanish to accurately communicate. It just seems a bit much to completely ban a certain language's use in the workplace. Then again, a policy is a policy, and if they were hired knowing so, then, well... that's that, I suppose.



posted on Jun, 6 2013 @ 07:11 PM
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reply to post by DystopianOrigami
 


I really don't think that your wife's situation is the kind that this policy was actually created for. I'd hope that someone who is grappling for words, and needed to revert to a language that could better express an important concept related to their job, and not just "personal stuff", wouldn't be an issue. But, I suppose there is always room for abuse and bigotry.




posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 01:01 AM
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I commend them for such a policy. There are too many places all over the USA where citizens are now required to speak a foreign (spanish) language in order to get hired and the job has nothing to do with international business. Immigrants who come here legally learn english, illegals don't care. I blame all the years of unchecked illegal immigrants for the lack of english being spoken.

With the hundreds of languages spoken here, it is common sense to have one unifying language. English is the language most spoken.

I spent 8 long years with one job being forced to listen to spanish and it drove me out of my mind. It felt like I left my own country. What a horrible feeling! These people knew english and spoke it only when they felt like it. We had asians, africans etc who were respectful enough to speak english.

You don't move to another country and expect that country to change just for you.



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 01:30 AM
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reply to post by FyreByrd
 


There is no "official" language for the United States

answers.usa.gov... 0629


I'm with you! If the conversation is not work-related, then it's nobody else's business.

Just because something is a policy doesn't means it's just
Heck, things like segregation used to be "policy."

It's awful the way Americans hate on non-English speakers. I can't think of any nation in the world that doesn't have multiple languages being spoken. Only in fascist states throughout history have other languages been subverted in this way.

It's outrageous and some Americans seem to have no end to their xenophobias. Disgusting!
edit on 7-6-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 04:05 AM
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Originally posted by Night Star

You don't move to another country and expect that country to change just for you.


Talk to the Native Americans about that one. The Europeans didn't bother to assimilate to the native American culture, they set the example now no one will lol.



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 07:08 AM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 





I'm with you! If the conversation is not work-related, then it's nobody else's business.


There's your problem. The two employees had no business chatting it up, about personal and private things on company time. During their breaks or before or after their shift, they can talk about anything they want. An employer has every right to break up time wasting conversations in the work place.



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 07:30 AM
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How ironic

Don't they sell spanish food there?



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 07:36 AM
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When I hear co-workers speaking Spanish or some other language to each other when I'm around it always gives me the sneaking suspicion that they're plotting to brutally murder all of us non-Spanish speaking folks.


Yeah, I know, I just a paranoid conspiracy freak but, that's how I feel.



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 08:30 AM
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Originally posted by FortAnthem


When I hear co-workers speaking Spanish or some other language to each other when I'm around it always gives me the sneaking suspicion that they're plotting to brutally murder all of us non-Spanish speaking folks.


Yeah, I know, I just a paranoid conspiracy freak but, that's how I feel.




that's funny.
Most of the time though, its just easier for the majority of them to speak in their native tongue.
English is a very difficult language to learn. My Father still has a super thick accent... I don't think it will ever leave him.

every now and then he will surprise me with a very large sophisticated english word...but pronounced with his accent.. hilarious. (he reads the english dictionary)




posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by NarcolepticBuddha
reply to post by FyreByrd
 


There is no "official" language for the United States

answers.usa.gov... 0629


I'm with you! If the conversation is not work-related, then it's nobody else's business.

Just because something is a policy doesn't means it's just
Heck, things like segregation used to be "policy."

It's awful the way Americans hate on non-English speakers. I can't think of any nation in the world that doesn't have multiple languages being spoken. Only in fascist states throughout history have other languages been subverted in this way.

It's outrageous and some Americans seem to have no end to their xenophobias. Disgusting!
edit on 7-6-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)


The only reason there is no official language is because we never had to fight for it before. We do however have over 30 States who have english as their official language.

us-english.org...

It has nothing to do with hating people. How fair is it that a citizen should be forced to speak spanish in order to get a job to provide for his family? When there are hundreds of languages spoken, why cater to just one? people who come through proper channels learn english. With years of unchecked illegal immigration we now have one group above all others being catered to.

Would you move to another country and demand and expect them to speak 'your' language?



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 11:29 AM
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Originally posted by Majestic Lumen

Originally posted by Night Star

You don't move to another country and expect that country to change just for you.


Talk to the Native Americans about that one. The Europeans didn't bother to assimilate to the native American culture, they set the example now no one will lol.


There isn't a person alive today who had anything to do with what happened all those years ago. Yes, we should be speaking Native American but we are now the USA and english is the most common language here. If you really want to be fair, you better learn over 300 languages. Do you see how ridiculous that would be, how chaotic and non-productive? All other immigrants have learned and speak english, there is no excuse to cater to one group.

If english unites us all and brings us together as a people, why would anyone be against that?



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 11:29 AM
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edit on 7-6-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: what do I need ulcers for?



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 





What does this have to do with what language they're chatting it up in? Why not just remind them, "Hey, folks, we have some work to get done. Save it for break time."


If the manager doesn't understand the language, how can he know if his employees are talking about a work issue or problem, or just wasting company time "chatting it up"? Easy, company policy is that work must be conducted in English. A manager can't effectively manage his employees if he can't understand what they're saying. The two employees in question already said they were talking about "personal stuff", that's why they were talking in Spanish. Not that it doesn't happen, or that managers can be tolerant, or not, of such habits, but personal chit chat at work is usually considered unprofessional.

(The other devil's advocate)


edit on 7-6-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 7 2013 @ 01:25 PM
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reply to post by everyone in this thread

 

Oh, I mean ummm...Hooray for corporation policy! Down with the little man!

Yes, punish them for speaking another language that is commonly used in that state and geographic region; an act of cultural preservation! How dare they!


the Whole Foods Market policy violates New Mexico's state constitution, which protects Spanish and American Indian languages.

www.huffingtonpost.com...

Who cares about state constitutions when corporations have policies! Woot!



Originally posted by windword
If the manager doesn't understand the language, how can he know if his employees are talking about a work issue or problem

The manager just has to ask, "Is there a work-related issue with which I can help?"

Not that it doesn't happen, or that managers can be tolerant, or not, of such habits, but personal chit chat at work is usually considered unprofessional.

Show me one person on this good earth who hasn't chit-chatted at work. Let me ask you something: if they were chit-chatting in English, do you think they would have been suspended?

Thank goodness for corporation policies. I don't know how people would passively discriminate without them!


edit on 7-6-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



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