Employment Law

Profanity in the Workplace and Termination

profanity in the workplace, termination

Can the use of profanity in the workplace lead to termination “for cause?”

An employee’s use of profanity in the workplace may not automatically qualify them for a termination for cause.

When an employer dismisses an employee for cause, they are doing so to avoid the burden of providing the employee with working notice or pay in lieu of notice, which is commonly referred to as severance pay.

A dismissal for cause should only be reserved for rare misconduct, such as theft or dishonesty. It is often referred to as the “capital punishment” of employment law. A majority of employers who terminate employees “for cause” often do so inappropriately, when the employee’s actions do not immediately meet the threshold for a dismissal. If a company incorrectly fires a worker for cause and fails to provide proper severance, they may find themselves on the receiving end of a wrongful dismissal suit. A wrongful dismissal occurs when an employer does not provide a severance package that takes into account all of the factors that go into calculating severance pay.

A Client’s Case Study

A machine operator sought help from the employment lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP after being fired from the company he had worked at for eighteen long years.

The reason for his termination was tied to his use of profanity in the workplace, which the employer cited as being a common occurrence on the shop floor. In fact, the company had documented numerous instances of profane language being uttered by our client, dating as far back as 1997. They believed that their extensive record of our client’s use of inappropriate language was enough to secure a termination for cause.

The reality was that the company’s documentation only weakened their position. They essentially admitted that they were aware of the employee’s constant use of foul and profane language during his eighteen years of employment , yet took no steps to properly discipline him. They had condoned his behaviour, and it is likely that the employee had come to understand that their conduct was acceptable.

Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru discussed the machine operator’s case on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

If you are faced with a termination for cause over the use of inappropriate language in the workplace, contact our employment lawyers Toronto, Vancouver employment lawyers or employment lawyers in Ottawa for the advice you need and the compensation you deserve.

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