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Swearing at work: when is disciplinary action justified?

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HC Online | 20 Jan 2015, 07:56 AM Agree 0
When it comes to managing workplace swearing, it's all about the context according to Alecia Thompson, solictor at PCC Lawyers.
  • Michael | 20 Jan 2015, 11:45 AM Agree 0
    If context is a determining factor when managing, nothing will be managed as "context" will cover a host of sins.
  • Kathryn Dent | 20 Jan 2015, 12:45 PM Agree 0
    It's an interesting debate that I've had cause to engage in with clients particularly during training sessions where this issue is commonly addressed and is a fertile source of discussion. While I can appreciate the difference between directing swearing at a person and simply swearing at an inanimate object the latter may still impact on the organisation in a number of ways eg does it create a hostile environment with a risk to safety (granted it may not be bullying)? does it reflect an organisation's professionalism and culture? (think about those third parties who may overhear the swearing - third parties which may include clients). In addition to policies and as a reinforcement of them, I recommend covering these expectations which are behavioural, in any induction and/or ongoing workplace training.
  • AJ | 15 Oct 2017, 01:49 PM Agree 0
    Profanities when used by managers are sometimes utilized to creat fear or to bully an employee. For example, this piece of shi# has been sitting here for a month, I want it gone by Friday. The manager knows there are hurdles to get it out by Friday, but wants an employee to take a shortcut, or just make it happen without resources or due process. The employee then disposes of a government property, and the company is later penalized and loses a government contract.

    So profanities do not necessarily need to be directed at individuals to create fear or bullying. It is ultimately a measure of company culture and respect.
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