Swearing employee’s dismissal ruled fair

by Janie Smith03 Sep 2014
A Fair Work Commission decision has made a distinction between general swearing in the workplace and swearing at someone in the workplace.

A mechanical instructor had his employment at Scientific Management Associates terminated for serious misconduct after using expletive language and calling his manager offensive names on 22 January.

The employee then lodged an application for unfair dismissal, saying that he swore regularly, had never been warned on account of it and “it’s current language that’s used in that workplace”.

However, the commission found that although the workplace was one in which “a degree of swearing appears to be tolerated and where swearing is not uncommon”, there was a difference between swearing in the workplace and swearing at a manager, using “highly offensive and personalised language”.

The commission found that the employee’s dismissal was not harsh, unjust or unreasonable and his behaviour was inappropriate in a workplace. 

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