In Brief - New Mexico News - July 5, 2013

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The Associated Press


ACLU files complaint  


ALBUQUERQUE — 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.


State receiving $1M grant 


SANTA FE — New Mexico will receive a $1 million grant from the federal government to help provide medical care to uninsured children.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced the grant Tuesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The money is to help the state enroll more children who are eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Medicaid provides health care for a fourth of the state’s population.

 About 9 percent of children in New Mexico lacked health insurance in 2011, according to a report released last week by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that concluded the state was the worst in the nation when it comes to child well-being. About 7 percent of children nationally were uninsured.