Profanity

MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Member Posts: 192 ■■■■□□□□□□
Do you feel that excessive profanity in the workplace is a big deal or no..

I understand that people curse and it's likely that even if they attempt to stop, they will curse. 

Do you use profanity or mind if others around you use profanity at work?

Comments

  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I'd assume it is frowned upon at most IT places as we are usually dealing with customers or people from other departments within an organization.  But if you don't, like Skylilez92 mentioned above in the NOC, I wouldn't care. 
  • FluffyBunnyFluffyBunny Member Posts: 230 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I am known for colorful language and I really do try to stop myself from including harsh profanity in my talks. Mostly it's a matter of gauging the group I'm in and determining how much "color" I can insert. Kind of like walking the dog: how much slack in the leash can you allow safely?
  • Russ5813Russ5813 Member Posts: 123 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I don't get offended by it, but I do think it should be kept to a minimum in the workplace, for the sake of professionalism.
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,025 Admin
    It really depends on the norms of the workplace (e.g., construction site, factory floor, front office, back office, etc.), the state laws, the business' HR rules, and how well those HR rules are enforced at the job site. For a professional business environment with an active HR presence, profanity should be not tolerated for both professional and legal reasons. The managers are responsible for enforcing HR rules.
  • MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Member Posts: 192 ■■■■□□□□□□
    edited February 2019
    JDMurray said:
    It really depends on the norms of the workplace (e.g., construction site, factory floor, front office, back office, etc.), the state laws, the business' HR rules, and how well those HR rules are enforced at the job site. For a professional business environment with an active HR presence, profanity should be not tolerated for both professional and legal reasons. The managers are responsible for enforcing HR rules.
    So, you think someone should receive a verbal warning, written-up, or fired for saying Shet, Dam, or Fok at work? I have personally never heard of it happening....

    Nor have I ever signed a document stating that profanity was prohibited in the work environment. If it is prohibited, it should be a part of Onboarding. I am not saying no organization has it a part Onboarding in the world, I am just saying I've never seen it. It's impossible to discipline someone for a policy that they never knew existed or never agreed to ;)

    A lawyer fresh out of law school might take that lawsuit pro bono on behalf of the employee  :D

    I think it's hard to not say it for some people. I also think some words in the profanity dictionary are more harsh than others.
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I've noticed that it depends on the environment, part of the world, and familiarity between the individuals. I rarely use profanity but I'm not offended by it. I have worked in certain environments where profanity is commonplace - certain niche areas like among sell-side traders, hackers, and senior level execs come to mind.

    I suspect that most people don't use profanity until they have developed some kind of rapport with the individuals that they work with. And then there are people that use it for effect. I also worked with customers over the years where profanity was used casually and in those cases, it's usually meant to be an indication of trust among peers.

    The reality is that profanity exists as a conversational style so it will also exist in the workspace. I don't consider the use of profanity in the workplace as unprofessional. For me, it's more about etiquette and decorum, ie. how and when it's used.
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    edited February 2019
    So, you think someone should receive a verbal warning, written-up, or fired for saying Shet, Dam, or Fok at work? I have personally never heard of it happening....

    Nor have I ever signed a document stating that profanity was prohibited in the work environment. If it is prohibited, it should be a part of Onboarding. I am not saying no organization has it a part Onboarding in the world, I am just saying I've never seen it. It's impossible to discipline someone for a policy that they never knew existed or never agreed to ;)

    A lawyer fresh out of law school might take that lawsuit pro bono on behalf of the employee  :D

    I think it's hard to not say it for some people. I also think some words in the profanity dictionary are more harsh than others.

    It really depends on how that profanity is being used and the environment. I'm not sure where you are located. But in the United States, there are labor laws regarding "hostile work environment". Many companies do have policies in their employee handbooks about employees who create a hostile workplace. Both conduct and speech can be considered "hostile" in some states. For companies that have a low risk tolerance, they could possibly enforce a ban on profanity, although I've never seen that in my experience.

    The EEOC guidance here if you are interested - https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/harassment.cfm

    Note that there is employer liability which is typically why some companies would have it in their employee handbook.


  • MontagueVandervortMontagueVandervort Member Posts: 399 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Yes, I would feel excessive profanity (or any profanity at all) in the workplace was a "big deal".

    I didn't realize it until now, but apparently I'm fortunate to live in an area where cussing in the workplace (or anywhere in public) is highly frowned upon, so this isn't an issue for me.

    I remember someone did cuss once when he lost his cool, but it's the only time I can think of and he (of course) apologized to the group almost immediately. He was diabetic (type I) and had not eaten all day, so it was easily forgiven by everyone (or at least by me haha).

    Cussing here is saved to be used only around family. :D
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,025 Admin
    So, you think someone should receive a verbal warning, written-up, or fired for saying Shet, Dam, or Fok at work? I have personally never heard of it happening....

    Here in the USA, the employee's manager would caution the employee against using unprofessional language (texting, imagery, etc.) in the workplace. If this behavior were to continue, the employee would be regarded as having personal (or other) problems causing the aberrant behavior. If there were other, on-going behaviors also in defiance of workplace rules then HR would be involved to determine if personal counseling for the employee were necessary.

    Most employees are compliant with implicit workplace rules, such as not using profanity in the workplace. Those that aren't compliant have deeper issues that need to be explored and resolved by their managers.
  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,077 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Entirely dependent on several factors, including culture and timing. I would be far more tolerant of occasional cursing between team members who know each other than someone cursing in front of customers. Cursing is typically dome for effect. Managers to show they're in charge, people on a team bonding over the use of the same language or simply to emphasize a point. But management should always be watching the culture that forms around staff. Not just for cursing but for instances of bullying or ostracizing someone. Any time they notice a cultural trait that results in a reduction of team effectiveness, they should take action. But if it's very generic cursing, as opposed to targeted harassment, bullying or verbal abuse, the action I take might be to move the person offended to a different team.
  • MrsWilliamsMrsWilliams Member Posts: 192 ■■■■□□□□□□
    JDMurray said:
    So, you think someone should receive a verbal warning, written-up, or fired for saying Shet, Dam, or Fok at work? I have personally never heard of it happening....

    Here in the USA, the employee's manager would caution the employee against using unprofessional language (texting, imagery, etc.) in the workplace. If this behavior were to continue, the employee would be regarded as having personal (or other) problems causing the aberrant behavior. If there were other, on-going behaviors also in defiance of workplace rules then HR would be involved to determine if personal counseling for the employee were necessary.

    Most employees are compliant with implicit workplace rules, such as not using profanity in the workplace. Those that aren't compliant have deeper issues that need to be explored and resolved by their managers.
    I don't agree, but Ok. Not a big deal. 

    Like I said, I have never heard of such a thing (in the USA). I really don't think anybody has honestly... I think you are the only one who stands by that argument my friend. I agree that we will disagree so I am moving on. 

    Either way, have a wonderful day. 
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    edited February 2019
    A few years back I worked for a small company (the IT department was me and one other guy, and the other guy had been in IT for many years and knew a lot more than I) where we hired a temporary Systems Admin to come work for us for a month because the other guy on my team was going on a vacation for a few weeks.  After a couple weeks in, everything was going fine, but the temp guy was on the phone with someone (a personal call) and he started yelling and threw out some swear word.   They let the guy go that same day.... 

    I was super surprised.  The guy seemed nice enough and everything seemed to be going good.   Was a pretty friendly office and think someone acting like that was extremely out of place though and they weren't having it. 
  • JDMurrayJDMurray Admin Posts: 13,025 Admin
    edited February 2019
    MrsWilliams said:

    Like I said, I have never heard of such a thing (in the USA). I really don't think anybody has honestly... I think you are the only one who stands by that argument my friend.
    This is my experience in working for two, very large (150K+ people) global enterprises ruled by lawyers, governance, and Human Resources. I also have lots of management training on how to deal with workplace problems. You probably don't have experience with the same type of employers or the same type of training. You also assume that your opinions and experiences are shared by most everyone else in the world. That a common way people cope with the feelings of insecurity and loneliness.
  • paul78paul78 Member Posts: 3,016 ■■■■■■■■■■
    A few years back I worked for a small company (the IT department was me and one other guy, and the other guy had been in IT for many years and knew a lot more than I) where we hired a temporary Systems Admin to come work for us for a month because the other guy on my team was going on a vacation for a few weeks.  After a couple weeks in, everything was going fine, but the temp guy was on the phone with someone (a personal call) and he started yelling and threw out some swear word.   They let the guy go that same day.... 

    I was super surprised.  The guy seemed nice enough and everything seemed to be going good.   Was a pretty friendly office and think someone acting like that was extremely out of place though and they weren't having it. 
    Yup - that does happen. And people can either get a warning or just outright terminated. I don't know the context on what occurred in your situation but I can see it happening. 

    A couple of years back, I had a guy fired not because he was using profanity but it was the context in which it was used. It was a similar issue as you described but in this case, he was yelling and swearing at another employee and he threw something at another.  I wasn't present when it occurred but it take very long to get corroborating information. So I terminated his access to the building and revoked his network access. And then I emailed his manager that the employee was no longer permitted to support my line of business.

    I actually agree to some extent with the comments by both @MrsWilliams and @JDMurray. I've worked in small startups and large multinationals - the culture and tone of the company really dictates what would be tolerated - at least in public.

  • PC509PC509 Member Posts: 804 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I can have a colorful language. At work, I rarely swear. My boss does at times, too. Rarely. It's not that it's prohibited, it's just not needed most of the time. Our maintenance guys, though. Whoo whee! 
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,407 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Do you feel that excessive profanity in the workplace is a big deal or no..

    I understand that people curse and it's likely that even if they attempt to stop, they will curse. 

    Do you use profanity or mind if others around you use profanity at work?


    In the past I had a potty mouth, but that was before I became a Christian.  Now that I'm a Christian I try to watch my language.
    If someone else is swearing it does bother me a little.  I feel like they cannot control their emotions.

    I have worked in several environments were it was okay to swear as along as it didn't offend anyone.

    I used to work in a print shop in a past life hahaha... and people would swear to their hearts content.   Also, certain people would make very colorful comments towards others.  

    I do remember two times were it was weird when someone swore.
    1) I worked at an IT company, and the owner told me one of the guys that used to work there flicked her off behind her back when she was walking by, but she saw it , and she thought it was funny.  She said as long as someone isn't offended it's ok.  

    2) Another time I worked I worked at a company were we worked with several IT teams on a project.  Well, there was a miscommunication among teams,  and if one team didn't do something, then the team I worked on would call them lazy, and a few choice words behind their backs.  This back and forth lasted a bit until we all started working together one day in the same room.  Once we worked together in the same room, everyone was buddy buddy haha.  

    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • Jon_CiscoJon_Cisco Member Posts: 1,772 ■■■■■■■■□□
    So, you think someone should receive a verbal warning, written-up, or fired for saying Shet, Dam, or Fok at work? I have personally never heard of it happening....
    May I ask what prompted this question? It seems you have a strong opinion about it but have never heard of it in the work place.

    I would assume the context of your language would be the critical issue in less strict environments. If you use a few colorful words to be expressive that might be OK. If you use them to be demeaning that's a totally different issue.
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,229 ■■■■■■■■■■
    I do not mind if others use profanity around me, but I try to refrain from doing it myself. Of course there are moments at work that bring me to blurting out a four letter word, but I do not do it in regular conversation. I will use profanity if it enhances a joke, but I am mindful of the audience. 
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  • shochanshochan Member Posts: 1,004 ■■■■■■■■□□
    ok, what about a written form of profanity...work emails?  I know this has always been frowned upon and usually taken more harshly, even though when you hear it, people will either have selective hearing or simply ignore it...but when in writing it is plainly considered unacceptable.  I only mentioned this because I did use "damn users keep calling" & someone fwd it to HR...I was only written up & had to apologize to the offended user whom called me directly, LOL! 
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  • stryder144stryder144 Member Posts: 1,684 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I have heard of one person being fired for using profanity in the workplace here in the USA.  I am not certain if there were other factors involved in the decision, though it sounded like there was a low tolerance overall.  I would guess, again I cannot confirm the details as I do not know them, that there may have been customers in the facility when the expletive was uttered.
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  • EANxEANx Member Posts: 1,077 ■■■■■■■■□□
    shochan said:
    ok, what about a written form of profanity...work emails?  I know this has always been frowned upon and usually taken more harshly, even though when you hear it, people will either have selective hearing or simply ignore it...but when in writing it is plainly considered unacceptable.  I only mentioned this because I did use "damn users keep calling" & someone fwd it to HR...I was only written up & had to apologize to the offended user whom called me directly, LOL! 
    It's more serious in writing because you have a chance to think about your use of the word, as opposed to speaking where you have plausible deniability regarding how deliberate the intention was. Add to that that the ability for the email to be forwarded around and potentially reach the person or group you were referring to and you might see why it's so heavily frowned upon.
  • PC509PC509 Member Posts: 804 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I do not mind if others use profanity around me, but I try to refrain from doing it myself. Of course there are moments at work that bring me to blurting out a four letter word, but I do not do it in regular conversation. I will use profanity if it enhances a joke, but I am mindful of the audience. 
    I think that last part is key to it all - mindful of the audience. Talking with your buddies in your department in a room with no one else around? If they are cool with it, go for it. Around others that you don't know or in a more professional area? Nah, skip the colorful language as it's really not needed in the conversation. 

    The one time I did let a "WTF" slip was when we had some cleaners come through and unplug our UPS to our main router and switch core to plug in their vacuum. Heard the UPS beeping, but didn't pay it any attention. Network for the whole site goes down... I show up and see what happened and that they had no idea what happened or even cared, and it slipped out as I fixed it. At least now our security people won't let them in any IT rooms without our consent (as it should have been before). 
  • jeremywatts2005jeremywatts2005 Member Posts: 347 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I left a job one time because it was so bad. Every other word was how some guy was sleeping w some girl or the F bomb it was bad. Even when I asked for them to knock it off they ignored me. The HR managers daughter was sitting right across from me and they kept on going with just filthy nasty talk about women. HR refused to correct it so I walked.  I never tolerated it as a manager you are asking for an HR violation at some point. It should be avoided. I also termed a guy after 3 warnings for language he was an instructor and was warned to not demean women in class and he kept doing it. It told me at the end he didn't believe women should be in medical at all. Language should be professional at all times in the workplace otherwise people have a tendency to venture further and further off course.
  • PC509PC509 Member Posts: 804 ■■■■■■□□□□
    I think there is a big difference between the very occasional bad word and them being used in almost every sentence. If you are are surprised when you hear it because it's so rare, it's fine. If you're just used to it because it happens all the time, there's a problem. When I hear it at work, it's usually because someone is very frustrated or something bad happened (pain, emergency, etc.) and it catches you off guard. You know something is wrong. 

    It's like a PG movie. They are allowed 1 bad word per movie (I think it's 1). I like to keep work the same way. There really isn't a lot of reason to use profanity most of the time. I'm not offended by it, but it's not something that I really think is necessary in this field. 
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