Bosses Swearing at Employees

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about swearing at employees:

My question to you has been prompted by my viewing of two episodes of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s TV program. As anyone who has watched the show knows, he is apparently a great chef, but insists on screaming at, swearing at, and otherwise belittling his staff. From what I have read online, there is are no specific laws prohibiting bosses from swearing at employees, unless the swearing implies discrimination against a person of a legally protected group of individuals.

I’m wonder if, first of all, bosses have a legal right to swear at employees either sporadically or frequently, and if so, do you foresee a time soon when this “right” will be taken away from them. From my non-professional end, I can only say that it seems terribly unfair that individuals who apparently need these jobs, regardless of how well they perform, must be subjected to such demeaning behavior without recourse.



DearĀ @#//*&:

Do bosses have a legal right to swear at those under them? Our site does not provide legal advice; however, to the best of my acquaintance with this topic, there are no laws against swearing at one’s staff, underlings, co-workers or those who rank above you. Discretion dictates that doing so is unwise and swearing at someone tends to be linked language that is discriminatory; pertaining to race, national origin, sex, disability, religion, age, etc.The popular press picks up any smidgen of news that supports taboo language, telling that swearing relieves stress and boosts team spirit. Occasionally, we see that a superior is forced out or fired because of abusive language toward those in her/his charge. Such press notes that there is a difference between swearing to express displeasure and relieve tension than angrily swearing at someone. That is verbal abuse.

Most organizations know that verbal abuse should not be tolerated and harms working relationships. Chef Gordon Ramsay’s TV producers and audience apparently find that his swearing attracts viewers who like it. Bully bosses swearing at those they supervise repel me, and if I were in charge would call a halt to it. I support those, like you, who are targets or simply see swearing as abusive, who voice your objection. The offensive is not the words themselves, but the abuse that demeans and creates incivility. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Civility is at risk when language is not respectful.

William Gorden