Whole Foods Markets (WFM) finds itself in a linguistic dispute.
Two workers at the trendy food retailer’s Albuquerque, New Mexico, store allege that they received suspensions after protesting a policy that bans workers from speaking in Spanish. Whole Foods denies the claim and says the pair were suspended for improper behavior, USA TODAY notes.
The workers say they were advised of the policy at a staff meeting, but were suspended after the wrote a letter to the store manager criticizing the policy. The grocery chain denied that it has any policy banning workers from conversing in Spanish during work hours. It also says an internal investigation found that 17 other workers who attended the meeting in question denied that they were told not to speak in Spanish.
But the denials weren’t enough to prevent a boycott launched by ProgressNow New Mexico, which has placed a petition on MoveOn.org demanding that Whole Foods drop is English-only policy.
Shares of Whole Foods Markets climbed more than 1% in Friday morning trading.