Dismissal and swearing: Is it fair? or not fair?
“Swearing” is a serious issue which might have been considered OK in your normal day to day life. However it is unprofessional and is something which has zero value in the workplace. The stigma that it has been normalized in the society has made people careless and they do not ponder to think upon the consequences. Even if we talk about swearing as a habit, it is not a good habit. These days people have commonly began to use slang language and they do not realize where they have to use it and with whom. Second issue that has made the barriers of language deteriorate in social media applications and people adopt this as normal. Dismissal and swearing: Is it fair? or not fair? is a article well worth noting.
People have forgotten where they are supposed to use roman languages like people use abbreviations or improper spelling structures at social media applications. At times, swearing is also used for proving someone that they are speaking the truth or to make a strong point. So for swearing there are different situations, what it can be argued it is applicable. While on other hand there are situations it is recommended to avoid it at all cost. A lot the times its about context. According to the situation if swearing is used it might be validated but allows the whole conversation to go off the topic. It also opens the door for the employer to dismiss you. Where he didn’t have a valid reason before but now does.
Bad language has become a habit
Swearing has become a habit which has been normalized without people realizing with whom they are supposed to use it or not. People swear to make a point, to reinforce their argument and do not see a problem with this. We get many enquires at AWNA where people say “f” this “f” that. What’s the point? There is none. We know their upset they have been dismissed, now no income, or they have been suspended and under a workplace investigation. The point is it detracts from the situation.
Lets consider the factor of swearing in the workplace before we move on to discussing its consequences let us first know how swearing in the workplace is viewed.
What is swearing in the workplace?
Swearing in the workplace is the use of profanity or offensive language in a business or professional setting. Also, a constant swearing issue at the workplace may lead an employee to being dismissed from a job. Because acting in such unprofessional way portrays that an employee is not mature enough or is not capable enough to have the role. Moreover, it is generally not considered a good habit, as it can create a hostile work environment and can be seen as unprofessional. It partly about maintaining the trust and confidence of the employment relationship. No employer wants to be considered a toxic workplace.
Dismissal and Swearing in the workplace in Australia:
Behaviour in the workplace is a contentious issue in Australia. Some settings more than others, outback Australia, the mining industry and the construction industry are examples where this language is frequent. These industries are now attracting a greater rate of female participation and this must be considered in day to day inter actions in the workplace. How employees speak and act has changed. Many people at the workplace are in a habit of swearing and they do not take it seriously. It is an unprofessional behavior which they do not realize.
On one hand, it can be seen as a sign of disrespect and can create a hostile work environment. It can be normalized with friends but not at professional places like a office etc. On the other hand, it can be seen as a way to express frustration or to bond with colleagues. Furthermore, we will explore the implications of swearing in the workplace and the potential consequences for employers and employees that swearing leads to.
Fair work Commission states
- The use of swear words in the workplace is generally frowned upon in Australia. This has also been addressed in the Fair Work Act 2009. This states that employers must provide a safe working environment for their employees. This includes ensuring that employees are not subjected to offensive language or behavior. This comes from both sides which means that employers and employees both are equally responsible to behave in a professional way in the workplace. Since both parties work at a professional place, neither party should be allowed to swear in the workplace.
- Employers should also have a policy in place that outlines the consequences for employees who use inappropriate language in the workplace. In this way, constant issue of swearing in the workplace will be reduced. Work safe Victoria state “aggressive gestures or expressions such as eye rolling and sneering verbal abuse such as yelling, swearing and name calling” is never OK and is unlawful.
Face disciplinary action
- Secondly, the employees who swear in the workplace can face disciplinary action, including warnings, suspension or even dismissal. This is especially the case if the swearing is directed at another employee or customer. Employers and employees should also be aware that swearing in the workplace can lead to legal action. This is because it can be seen as a form of workplace harassment or bullying. Australian employment laws has been getting strict in terms of ethical practices for being in the workplace. There are anti bullying laws (F72) in place now and general protection applications (F8) that can be made to the Fair work Commission.
Swearing is habit forming
- Since swearing is not a good habit. Swearing or using slang language in the workplace can also have a negative impact on morale and productivity. Employees who are subjected to swearing may feel uncomfortable and may be less likely to speak up or contribute to discussions. Employees also have to attend certain business meetings which means it is mandatory to communicate professionally. And if they fail to do so this can lead to a decrease in productivity and a decrease in morale.
None likes it: reputational damage
- At last, employers should be aware that swearing in the workplace can have a negative impact on their reputation which will risk their job and it is not acceptable at all. Customers and clients may be put off by the use of inappropriate language, and this can lead to a decrease in business. This is a common complaint which customers can make if the employers or employees do not communicate properly. Not only will it decrease the income of the business also the customers will prefer to take their business elsewhere where they feel more comfortable. Customers “having a good user experience”, is an important goal for companies now.
Concluding the issue of swearing in the workplace is not acceptable in Australia. Employers should be aware of the potential consequences which are brought by swearing in the workplace. They should ensure that they have a policy in place that outlines the consequences for employees who use inappropriate language. Employees should also be aware that swearing in the workplace can lead to disciplinary action. That it can lead to negative impact on morale. Effect an employee’s future of being in the company and productivity.
Employees have to be mindful they cannot have it both ways. On one hand they don’t want to be yelled at, bullied, spoke down to or humiliated in front of others. But on the other hand continue to swear themselves. Two wrongs don’t make a right as the saying goes.
Steps to reduce the use of swearing in the workplace in Australia:
As we have already discussed the consequences and situations of swearing. At workplaces in Australia, if certain initiatives are taken then there are chances that swearing at the workplace can be reduced and completely vanished. They are:
- At the time of hiring employees, the employers must notice the way the person communicates to them. The HR person must notice the person, the way they communicate and also look upon their work experience.
- Experience of an employee at an older company or any place they have worked earlier tells a lot about them. As the experience of a person at an older company tells that how they had performed in terms of work behavior and ethical codes in the earlier work place.
- If there are employees at the work place that communicate in office by swearing or using slang language. Instead of warning them or terminating them from the job if workshops are conducted at the workplace they can reduce such behaviors. Not only it will reduce such behaviors but the employees will also learn from workshops.
- As workshops or seminars will be conducted, employees will also take initiative with great interests at growing and changing productively and positively.
Conclusion to: Dismissal and swearing: Is it fair? or not fair?
AWNA has helped a lot of people in Australia struggling in different scenarios in the workplace. With over 20 years experience AWNA have helped employees and has become a helping hand to many which have struggled with humiliation in the workplace. For all sexual harassment, workplace harassment, and casual employment issues give us a call. We are not lawyers but it is an organization that helps employees when things get difficult for them.
However, if an employee is facing trouble of any kind where they might feel that employers try to jeopardize their career, they can rely on AWNA as they can save them. Whether it is an issue of constant swearing in the workplace that remains unresolved or any other matter, anything at any time can be resolved at AWNA. They are reliable and trusted place where everything shared remains confidential.
Dismissal and swearing: Is it fair? or not fair?
Can swearing in the workplace get you dismissed click here
Employer calls you in for a disciplinary meeting click here
Procedural fairness is needed in dismissals click here
Dismissed serious misconduct will i lose my entitlements click here
Workplace investigation that leads to a unfair dismissal click here