How acceptable is it to use the ‘F’ word at work?

How acceptable is it to use the ‘F’ word at work?

Times have changed and so has the way we use language in the workplace. So we ask, "How acceptable is it to use the ‘F’ word at work?"

In the matter of Ms H Dadhania v SAP(UK) Ltd and Others, Ms Dadhania submitted that during a day-to-day meeting it was unusual for the companies Services Sales Manager, Bruce Pell to attend. During the meeting Ms Dadhania stated that matters became tense and Mr Pell belittled her and he made the following statement, “I don’t give a f*** that Shane is sponsoring it.”

The ruling...

The Employment Tribunal held that Ms Dadhania was unfairly dismissed, however her claims for direct discrimination, victimization and harassment on the grounds of age, race and sex discrimination were dismissed.

Judge Andrew Gumbiti-Zimuto confirmed that using the ‘F’ word in the workplace no longer has an element of shock. The Judge set out in his Judgment that “the words allegedly used in our view are fairly commonplace and do not carry the shock value they might have done in another time.”

What happened next?

A Remedy Hearing is listed for the end of March 2023 to decide the compensatory amount for the claim for unfair dismissal.

How does this effect Employers?

It has become apparent that over the decades colloquial language has been incorporated into the workplace to allow for a more relaxed way of communication. However, it must be said that whilst swearing in the workplace no longer has the same effect that it previously had, it is important for employers to clarify the standards expected from their workers which is usually detailed in the company’s handbook, and policies.

What does this mean for Employees?

Employees must understand that the expectations from companies will vary, and the use for foul language can be treated as misconduct and result in disciplinary action.

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