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Facing boycotts, Whole Foods revises English-only employee policy

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Whole FoodsFacing threats of national boycotts from Latino groups and a slew of online petitions, Whole Foods announced Friday that the organic grocery chain has revised its employee language policy following the suspension of two Spanish-speaking Albuquerque employees.

Whole Foods Market Inc. Co-CEO Walter Robb said in a blog post Friday that the recent "unfortunate incident" in Albuquerque prompted the Austin, Texas-based company to revise a policy that "does not reflect and is not in alignment with the spirit of this company."

"First, we sincerely apologize that a section of our handbook regarding Team Member interactions in the workplace was not clearly written, and for any misunderstandings or offense it has created," Robb wrote. "Its intention was to foster inclusion, not exclusion."

Last week, two Albuquerque workers said they were suspended for a day with pay after complaining about the policy. A Whole Foods spokesman said that previous policy required that all "English-speaking workers must speak English to customers and other employees while on the clock, unless the customer speaks another language."

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