Use of the F Word

You think Britain is civilized? You may be surprised what a judge there ruled is not shocking. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

A British woman sued her employer because she says the manager belittled her in a way that showed discrimination against her.  As evidence, she said that in a meeting, the manager was overbearing and dropped the f-bomb.  The tribunal believed he said it—but found that the use of the f-word is so commonplace that it doesn’t carry any shock value so while it might have been a tense conversation, it wasn’t intended to be rude or personal, so they ruled against her.

In the US, while the use of gender-specific vulgar words can be used to prove sexual harassment, isolated incidents of dropping the f-bomb for emphasis would not be considered sexual harassment—and there’s no law that says managers need to be polite. That said, you can do better than the bare minimum the law requires.  Keep it classy if you want your coworkers to treat you like royalty.

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