Owner of Company Uses Foul Language

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about sexual language: If he can’t find this person when he goes to his place of business, it’s because he’s “whacking off” in the basement. I’ve had it with this individual. I’m looking for a new job, but for now I’m still here.

I was at a meeting this morning where the owner of company (my boss) told us that we aren’t going to be doing business with a particular customer again, and he said if this customer calls, I’m to tell him to “f&^*” off. He then said that if he can’t find this person when he goes to his place of business, it’s because he’s “whacking off” in the basement. I’ve had it with this individual. I’m looking for a new job, but for now I’m still here. Do I have any legal recourse? Three other employees heard this discussion, if you want to call it that. Help!

Signed, Disgusted

Dear Disgusted:

I’m sure your boss is irritating and upsetting, but it doesn’t appear any bias, discrimination or hostile work environment issues reach the threshold of being illegal or severe enough for a lawsuit, especially if you are in a very small business. However, we are not attorneys, so you may want to consult one about your workplace issue.

In the meantime, have you ever asked him directly, to stop? Consider frowning and just saying something like, “Ed, please don’t use that language.” Or, “Good grief, Ed, I know you’re angry, but don’t talk like that!” “Or, “Ed, it’s not good for you to get that upset and I don’t like to hear it either.”

He is probably so accustomed to using that kind of language when he is venting or blowing off steam, that he doesn’t even notice it anymore. Remind him! I think you’re probably wise to look for other work, since his habit of using foul language is probably not going to change. But, maybe while you’re there you can find some ways to stop him, reduce it a bit or just condition yourself to think of it as something that doesn’t have the ability to get to you.

When you do leave you can tell HIM where to go, using any terminology you choose! Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what you decide and how it works.

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.