Swearing about the Boss gets the Sack

An employee who had previously been disciplined for swearing about Qantas management was not so lucky with a more recent verbal outburst.

According to a recent decision of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, the worker called a manager a 'f****** pommie ****' and suggested his manager complete a safety report, the correctness of which the manager had queried.

The Commission found that while there was a culture of swearing and bad language in the workplace, the employee was aware of the distinction between bad language and personal abuse which was what had occurred in this instance with the employee's expletive about the manager.  The Commission ruled that the Qantas worker was not unfairly dismissed for serious misconduct.

Whilst the employer was successful in defeating the unfair dismissal claim in this case, the response of an employer to swearing and bad language in the workplace will clearly depend on the circumstances and background to the swearing.  Not every bout of swearing in a workplace will be serious misconduct or indeed conduct warranting dismissal.

If you require further information about dealing with matters of this nature in your workplace, contact Ian Curlewis on 9288 6756, email: ian.curlewis@lavanlegal.com.au, Michael Jensen on 9288 6944, email: michael.jensen@lavanlegal.com.au or Benn Wallace on 9288 6741, emal: benn.wallace@lavanlegal.com.au

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.