UK: Linguistic Hygiene in the workplace

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Sat Jun 23 17:33:07 UTC 2007

  Is swearing or abusive language a dismissible offence? 22 June 2007 news
item A recent case where an employee was sacked for swearing in the
workplace questions how foul or abusive language should be dealt with by

Bristol train driver, Patrick Spackman was sacked for swearing at one of his
colleagues. His managers considered this as gross misconduct.

Bryani Cuthbertson, HR Associate at Workplace Law Group Ltd says that the
use of abusive or foul language in the workplace should not fall under gross
misconduct but should be dealt with informally. Employers should sit down
and have a conversation with the employee concerned and explain to them what
the company norm is. If the employee continues to use what the company
considers unacceptable behaviour, then formal action such as verbal warnings
can be issued.

A company should have a clear and formal policy on this matter, which sets
the benchmark of what behaviour is accepted in the organisation.

It is important to note that what is accepted in one organisation or
environment may not be accepted in another. For instance, what will be
accepted in the building industry will be different to what is accepted in
the service industry.

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or
sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree
with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list