A stressful day at work may warrant use of expletive language, discreetly.
Every office has a different stance toward swearing; some take it as a healthy way to vent, while others frown upon it. But all in all, you need to be considerate about your surrounding people, place, and time when using profane language.
Suitability and acceptability of a cuss word is highly dependent on the audience, context, and the profanity of the word used. A swear word used to describe an object or any non-living thing for example a computer may be a commonplace in your office. But using the similar swear word to describe a client or a manager will warrant disciplinary actions.
Employees may swear at each other in informal situations, but if the same kind of language is used in a boardroom meeting, you may witness some sort of disciplinary actions. The change in context, place, and audience—from a bar to a boardroom—can alter the impact your language has. Therefore, policy should be implemented to regulate explicit language.
Employees need to know which actions and behaviors are damaging to the workplace environment.
Your policy should openly state prohibition of profane language in workplace. Ensure that all employees read and sign the document, and send email reminders regarding language etiquette to instill positive workplace environment.
An employee may have used a swear word informally, but you never know who gets offended by such language. Hence, it’s better to raise a red flag in the initial stages to limit future occurrence of such incidence. Don’t wait until a complaint is filed; be proactive.
You can’t censor every dialogue; consider the context. Employees might use mild profanity in the heat of the moment.
Employees, who are at the receiving end of these words, feel victimized and dejected. Step in immediately if you notice office bullying and racial slurs. This can hamper productivity and even lead to workplace violence.
Address individuals in private. Explain the negative impact of bad language and remind them about the office policy and culture.
If this does not bring a necessary change, draft an email, highlighting the office conduct policy. Your last resort should be a disciplinary action or even termination, if the individual refuses to amend his/her behavior.
Bad language can portray a negative image on your clients and new employees. You need to develop positive and conducive workplace environment for all your employees and we – at DFRIHR – provide comprehensive guidelines for conflict resolution in the workplace and HR advisory services. Call 1-877-803-3486 to get assistance in your daily HR operations and develop strategic employee relations.