[lg policy] Whole Foods Abandons English Only Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 20 14:16:44 UTC 2013

Whole Foods Abandons English Only Policy

Whole Foods<http://www.inquisitr.com/486455/whole-foods-ceo-obamacare-fascism-was-a-very-poor-choice-of-words/>has
backed off from its English-only policy and is revising its employee
handbook accordingly.

The whole flap started when two employes of its Albuquerque, N.M., store
claimed they were
speaking Spanish on the job. The workers were suspended for one day
with pay. Whole Food claimed that they were sent home for workplace
misbehavior unrelated to language.

The story evidently became a public relations nightmare for the company,
including a possible customer
a petition
left-wing organizations MoveOn.org and ProgressNow New Mexico for
Foods to end its English-only policy.

In a blog post<http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/our-revised-team-member-language-guidelines>,
Walter Robb, Co-CEO, recently apologized for any misunderstanding and
announced that the employee handbook would be changed. Whole Foods
employees are referred to as team members. He noted, however, that the
original language was meant to “foster inclusion, not exclusion,” but that
“We hope and believe our revised language unequivocally communicates our
support for our team members to honor and celebrate their cultures by
speaking the language they prefer, while also helping to ensure a safe,
respectful and courteous work and shopping environment.”

The new in-store guidelines, which are the subject of ongoing discussions
with civil rights groups and possible further refinement, state in part:
“If you speak English and you need to communicate with an English-speaking
customer, please speak with them in English, unless requested otherwise by
the customer.”

As far as employee-to-employee communication, the old policy seemed to
require that English-speaking employees speak English only with their
counterparts if they are on the clock and are discussing work-related
issues. The new policy takes a slightly different approach: “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.”  Team
members can also alert a team leader if they need help translating from
English to another language.

As the new policy is rolled out, it will be discussed with employees at
team member meetings in every store.

Robb reaffirmed that the two employees in question were suspended for
workplace behavior rather than for speaking Spanish while on company time.

Added Robb: “This unfortunate incident has provided us the opportunity to
review and revise language in our handbook which, while in place for years,
does not reflect and is not in alignment with the spirit of this company,
nor our track record of respect and appreciation for our team members over
the past 33 years.”

Do you think Whole Foods management acted appropriately by modifying its
language guidelines?


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or
sponsor of the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a message are encouraged to post a rebuttal, and to write
directly to the original sender of any offensive message.  A copy of this
may be forwarded to this list as well.  (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

For more information about the lgpolicy-list, go to
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lgpolicy-list/attachments/20130620/c444c116/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
To manage your subscription unsubscribe, or arrange digest format: https://groups.sas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/lgpolicy-list

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list