Swearing at Work

One of our employees swears quite a bit in the office. I really don't like it, and some employees have complained. Is swearing allowed in the workplace? Is it acceptable? Any suggestions?


  • 10 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • There's no law against swearing in the workplace, but it can create harassment problems if the swearing is directed at a particular group (like women).  I think it depends on the words used and the context. In some workplaces, there's a lot of swearing by a lot of employees and
    no one thinks anything about it, but since you said some employees have
    complained, either an existing policy should be enforced, or one should
    be created.  If there's a policy about professionalism and respect for co-workers it would probably apply.  Or someone can ask the offending employee to clean up his/her act.
  • We had that problem here--with a woman.  Our vice president, an ex-military officer, brought over a big mason jar.  He told her, good-naturedly rather than confrontationally, that every time someone heard her swear, she had to put a quarter into the jar.  It worked--eventually.  The money in the jar went to charity.

  • What do you do if the swearing is being done by top management?  And at large meetings?
  • Just saw on the Internet that NASA's Inspector General is being asked to resign after a report that he was too cozy with vendors--swore at his staff--and created a hostile work environment.
  • I would just tell him/her that the swearing made some people feel uncomfortable.  They should understand that.
  • I would do the same, meet with them privately and tell the person that it's creating an uncomfortable environment. 

    My friends boss swears alot.  He's a big shot executive.I couldn't believe some of the things she was saying that he would say.  She just ignores him but I can see how that could become a hostile work environment.       I used to work at a trading firm and almost ALL of the traders would swear.    The other employees would accept it and just stay away from that particular floor especially if the market was bad that day!


  • We have just created a bullying policy to cover issues like this.  It also covers unacceptable behavior that could be deemed offensive to others.  We have stated that our organization does not accept behavior of this nature at all.
  • Hi Gtrenfro. Would you be willing to share your policy with me? We are looking at putting together a bullying policy and I'd be interested in what others have put together. Thanks

  • If you can get your managers to stop swearing, then the employees under them will likely not feel comfortable swearing. Setting a good example at the top can be very effective at getiing others to act in a certain way.
  • I was channel hopping and saw the show Hell's Kitchen.

    All the "mentor" chef did was swear at the contestant chefs--they blipped out about half of everything he said.

    And not only did he swear, he yelled everything he said.  One contestant got so nervous that he fainted.

    Is this man being held up as an icon?  To me, he is creating a hostile workplace and should be viewed as a poor example of a boss!

Sign In or Register to comment.