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Supermarket staff told not to speak in foreign languages

NewsBy Morgan Flanagan Creagh
Fresh Supermarket
Fresh Supermarket

Fresh supermarket has come under fire after a policy noticed emerged which informed foreign staff that they could no longer speak in their native tongue when working or while on their lunch break.

The memo, which appeared on Broadsheet.ie states that the "use of various languages on the shop floor has resulted in misunderstandings and some negative customer comments".

"Where possible the company would much prefer if the staff member encourages English speaking."

Online commentators saw the logic in Fresh’s regulations, until they read the bottom part of the letter which told staff:

“This policy (is to be) be applied during rest breaks".

"Please be advised that going forward should anyone be heard on the shop floor or while working speaking another language other than English that they may be the subject of disciplinary action."

Today Fresh Opportunities founder Noel Smith apologised in a statement for any offence caused, but held fast that employees must speak either Irish or English while on the shop floor.

"As you may have seen from social media recently, we issued a communication policy to our staff members, to encourage them to speak English when in the workplace.

"This was to help avoid any misunderstandings between customers, staff and suppliers on the shop floor.

"We’ve been consulting with our staff over the last 24 hours and as our earlier communication policy caused some confusion, we decided to take the step of updating this policy.

"This updated communication policy has now been issued to all our staff members, to help create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all our team.

"We are encouraging our staff to speak English or Irish when in the workplace and this doesn’t apply to rest periods.