Termination – Swearing

Termination – Swearing

In a recent case, the termination of an employee for swearing was upheld. There have been previous examples where swearing was deemed to be permissible, but it is a good decision for employers to implement a policy around it. This will ensure the workplace is kept free of unnecessary bad language.

The key difference in this particular case what the interpretation between what could be considered ”everyday descriptive language” and swearing “aggressively and maliciously” at someone in the workplace.

You may have read here before that one of the rules to consider when terminating an employee is ”will it be a surprise” and in this case the Commissioner made the point the termination was ”not surprising”.

As previously noted, each case needs to be looked at on its merits. In this case the investigation of the swearing incident deemed it “unjustified, extreme and unacceptable”.

This doesn’t mean you can just terminate an employee who swears. Rather it reinforces how critical it is to look at the content and context of what happens in each and every case before proceeding to terminate an employee.

Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

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