ACLU files complaint over Whole Foods Spanish flap

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A civil rights group on Tuesday filed complaints against Whole Foods Market with a New Mexico agency for allegedly discriminating against Spanish-speaking employees at an Albuquerque store.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico said it filed the complaints with the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau on behalf of employees Bryan Baldizan and Lupe Gonzalez.

The employees said last month a Whole Foods store suspended them for a day for complaining about a company policy they say prevented them from speaking Spanish while on the job.

News of the policy sparked outraged from Latino groups nationally and the Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market Inc. later revised its employee language rules.

Both employees said they are still prevented from speaking Spanish.

Whole Foods spokeswoman Libba Letton said the company plans to respond directly to the Human Rights Bureau if and when it receives a complaint.

Letton said the company is following through on the rule change to make sure managers and workers at all 352 stores understand the revised guidelines. She added that the company has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination.

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