Swearing at work considered as workplace bullying

Using swear words at work is generally a “no-no” although some employees may have had the experience of working with someone who would use or or two words in a conversation or during an angry fit.  Sometimes even the employees themselves use swear words at work.  However, the changes in New Zealand’s workplace bullying guidelines may land a few employees or bosses in hot water, especially if they use a swear word against another person.

According to workplace bullying expert Alan Halse, revisions to the workplace bullying guidelines made in 2014 has removed the need for employees who were bullied at work to prove intent when it came to the negative bullying behavior.  This means that employers or business in which bad languages are being used in the workplace may soon find themselves receiving workplace bullying complaints from employees who are offended by the swearing, even if it wasn’t directed at a person.

This is interesting since in most instances, a few choice swear words have become “common” in today’s language.  The use of these swear words may not even be directed to a person.  An individual may have used it to help put “emphasis” into a statement or experience.  It can also be directed to an inanimate object such as a computer or a laptop that may have unexpectedly died a “blue screen of death” during a presentation day.

Admittedly using curse words are improper, especially at the work place where the working environment is expected to exude professionalism, among other things.  Employers and business owners in New Zealand will have to watch out for non-bullies or bullies at the workplace who uses swear words, in order to avoid legal actions being filed against them.


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Not Sure if You’re a Bully at Work? Take this Quiz to Find Out

At school, the bullies we know are those that would take away our lunch or push everybody around in the playground.  Some would spread rumors about you or even have you do everything from homework to odd little jobs, such as getting drinks or snacks.

In the workplace, many bullies are not as obvious in their behaviors.  A bully at work may even be very subtle about the bullying.  It can come in various forms, in which co-workers may not even realize that they are being bullied at work, unless the situation happens repeatedly or results to the victim feeling belittled.

There are also instances where some co-workers become bullies at the workplace without them knowing it.  The negative bullying behavior need not be as obvious as shouting at the other person or humiliating them in front of several employees.  Adopting a domineering attitude at work and forcing everyone to do things your way, is a sign that you’re a bully or becoming one already.

This simple quiz is a helpful self-assessment tool for people to check whether they are or could be a possible contributor to workplace bullying.  It is especially helpful for employees who are wondering whether some of their behaviors are bordering on being too controlling at work or if they are contributing to a positive working environment.

To take the quiz and find out the results, click here.