Bay of Plenty supermarket sparks outrage with 'English only' sign

The sign has drawn outrage.
The sign has drawn outrage. Photo credit: File

A New Zealand supermarket sign reading "only English is to be spoken" by staff has outraged many online.

The sign was put up by management at a Foodstuffs-owned Bay of Plenty supermarket.

The "English only zone" sign told staff "only English language is to be spoken" in the staffroom, storeroom and on the shop floor. A photo was shared to a Papamoa social media group, and picked up by local media outlet SunLive.

The sign has drawn outrage, with social media commenters labelling it "pathetic".

A Foodstuffs spokesperson says the sign was intended to help deal with the company's "diversity and cultural mix".

"Like many organisations we now have a huge diversity and cultural mix in our stores. Sometimes this can lead to communication issues," North Island general manager Doug Cochrane told SunLive.

"A sign was put up in an attempt to ask staff to communicate in a common language that everyone understands.

"Unfortunately the wording on the sign did not convey the true intention or sentiment and was removed immediately.

"The store team is working through better ways to deal with these sorts of issues."