Coworker Swears At Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about swearing coworker:

If a coworker swears at me and calls me names, can he be suspended?

Signed, Upset

DearĀ Upset:

The action taken by your company or business about someone who swears at coworkers, is up to management, based on their rules and policies. If an employee is suspended he or she loses money for the time not at work. As a result, many employers prefer other kinds of discipline so as not to punish the employee’s family as well. (Loss of time off, a warning or formal reprimand.)

Another aspect of the decision is if this has happened before and if the employee has been warned before, as well as the totality of the circumstances. If you haven’t already done so, let your supervisor or manager know exactly what happened, what led up to the swearing and exactly what words were used. Also state clearly and honestly what you did before the swearing and after. Ask for assistance to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I hope your manager will immediately take action to find out what was going on in the conflict between you and the coworker, so this can be prevented in the future. Whatever discipline is taken, if any, should be appropriate for the level of the impropriety.At the same time, make sure your own communication is as business-like as possible. Be civil, use courtesy phrases (please and thank you) and try not to let negative feelings come through in your conversations. Don’t gossip about him or her, just focus on work. However, you certainly should not tolerate the kind of behavior you described, so if it happens again, tell the coworker to stop and if necessary, get up and leave the area and go to a manager to ask for help in dealing with the situation.Best wishes to you with this.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.