The recession has ratcheted up America’s stress level, and employers are seeing the results spill out in their workplaces. Boorish behavior and vulgar words are on the rise--and technology is fueling the fire.
Swearing is the most obvious example. Last year, Goldman Sachs execs were publicly pummeled at a Senate hearing over naughty words used in interoffice emails. So the company sent a new directive to employees this summer: No more profanity in email.
The company has even begun using screening software to identify dirty words. Other companies do the same thing. Bloomberg scans email messages for 70 hot-button words or phrases and sends users a pop-up message warning them not to send the email.
Banning swearing isn’t just a PR move. Employees who are targets of swearing by bosses—both the electronic and the “live” kind—can point to those words as evidence of a hostile work environment.
So should you establish a zero-tolerance ban on any and all swearing in the workplace? No. It’s not realistic and you may set yourself up for discrimination claims if you clamp down on one employee’s slip-up but not another’s.
Instead, establish more general rules that say offensive language and other disrespectful conduct are not permitted, and violators will be subjected to the discipline policy.
If you set rules on swearing, don’t try to list every offense for which workers could be fired. It may eliminate your at-will right to fire at your discretion. Instead, cite broad categories, such as insubordination.
Example: A few years ago, a UPS driver was fired on the spot after he broke into a profane tirade against his boss. He sued, arguing that swearing was not one of the seven reasons for immediate dismissal cited in UPS’ discipline policy. The appeals court sided with the worker, saying the terms were clearly spelled out and they didn’t include profanity. (Hawaii Teamsters and Allied Workers Union, Local 996 v. UPS)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/14942/is-it-time-to-ban-swearing-in-the-workplace "
- Show Me the Money! How HR is Responding to 'The Great Health Insurance Giveback'
- Presidential Debates at Work: Elect Civility in These Final Days (and Know Your 'Voting Leave' Law)
- Too Many Chiefs: The Growing Risks of 'Title Fluffing'
- No Home Address on Résumé: Is That a Legal Concern?
- Hoarders in the Office? Address the Mess