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Cursing or Swearing In the Workplace

The question of whether it is acceptable to swear in the workplace has been recently considered by the Fair Work Commission. In the case of Roderick Macdougall v SCT Pty Limited t/a Sydney City Toyota, Sydney City Toyota dismissed Mr. Macdougall for allegedly behaving aggressively towards and cursing or swearing at a customer. Mr. Macdougall, […]

Cursing or Swearing In the Workplace

Cursing or Swearing In the Workplace

By Aylward Game - May 17, 2013 Employment Law

The question of whether it is acceptable to swear in the workplace has been recently considered by the Fair Work Commission. In the case of Roderick Macdougall v SCT Pty Limited t/a Sydney City Toyota, Sydney City Toyota dismissed Mr. Macdougall for allegedly behaving aggressively towards and cursing or swearing at a customer. Mr. Macdougall, brought an application to the Fair Work Commission alleging that he had been unfairly dismissed. The Fair Work Commission took the view that Customer Service was a significant element of Mr. Macdougall’s role, that his conduct represented a threat to the business of Sydney City Toyota and the Fair Work Commission rejected the claim for unfair dismissal.

This decision is somewhat different from the outcome of the Fair Work Commission’s decision in Symes v Linfox Armaguard Pty Ltd in 2012. In that case, the Fair Work Commission accepted that Mr. Symes conduct in swearing at a supervisor was not appropriate but came to the decision that it did not justify dismissal. Their decision was that Mr. Symes should be reinstated and paid compensation for the period of time that he was not working.

There are a variety of factors that will impact whether the Fair Work Commission or takes the view that dismissal for swearing at work is unfair or not.

For further advice or information regarding Employment Law matters please contact Ian Field.

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