Watch Your Mouth: Swearing in the Workplace
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Understand the legal issues, and potential claims, surrounding the use of profanity at work and potential efforts to restrict swearing."Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." Mark Twain. Today, the use of profanity in everyday speech is pervasive. Swearing can be a spontaneous expression of strong feelings, like anger, fear, frustration or passion, and help us vent our stress and cope with difficulty. We swear to fit in with a group or to be funny. And we swear for emphasis or to be heard. Swearing at work, though, can have significant negative consequences. Use of profane language can damage one's professional reputation and drive away co-workers, business partners or customers. Swearing can distract from effective communication, escalate conflicts and create even more stress on a team. And swearing at work can invite a myriad of legal claims. This topic helps business leaders, human resources professionals and attorneys to understand the legal issues, and potential claims, surrounding the use of profanity at work and potential efforts to restrict swearing. The information also offers some helpful advice on managing the use of foul and profane language at work. This material is critical for employers so they can understand an employee's rights at work and avoid surprising claims that can arise from workplace swearing.
AuthorsCharles T. Passaglia, Esq., Employment Law Solutions, Inc.
Do Employees Have a Right to Swear?
• The Scope of the Problem
• Profanity, the First Amendment and Public Sector Workplaces
• Swearing as a Disability Under the Americans With Disabilities Act
Swearing as Harm on Another
• Swearing and the Law of Harassment
• Swearing as an Assault or Other Tort Claim
• Swearing as Workplace Violence
What Can Employers Do to Address Swearing?
• Swearing and the National Labor Relations Act
• Can an Employer Have a No-Swearing Policy?
• Practical Advice for Professionals and the Profane