Tim Hortons is dealing with a barrage of complaints after a sign that declared "No Drunken Indians Allowed" was taped to a drive-through window at a location in Southern Alberta.


The company told The Globe and Mail that the poster was an ill-conceived joke posted by a teenage staff member at a Lethbridge location last week.


Since the incident, an email has been circulating among members of native communities calling for a ban on the coffee and doughnuts chain.


"Please do not purchase from these stores," says the email. "It might not make a big impact on their profits, but at least it will let them know that these (types) of discriminatory acts will not be tolerated."


The email also urges people to contact the company's head office in Oakville, Ont. to complain about the "offensive" sign.


Tim Hortons spokesperson Rachel Douglas told The Globe that the company has received the email numerous times.


"This is not something we tolerate and it is not reflective of Tim Hortons," said Rachel Douglas, referring to the sign. "For any offence, I extend my sincerest apologies."


Douglas said she received the first complaint about the sign on Friday.


The staff member, who is not an aboriginal, was suspended from a number of shifts and educated about the company's harassment policies.


The teen has also apologized to two fellow employees who are members of native bands.


Additionally, the outlet's owner sent a letter of regret to the nearby Blood Tribe.


"I think it was one of those youthful things where she just didn't realize and she was made very aware of her actions and the consequences and was very remorseful," said Douglas.

"We decided it was in her best interests -- and a learning experience -- that we didn't terminate, but she has been disciplined and reprimanded."