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Bad Language Can Get You Fired

April 30 2008 - With the economy threatening recession, a new survey suggests that cursing and cussing in the workplace are not likely to help your career. The survey shows that 36% of bosses in the U.S. have issued a formal warning, and 6% have actually fired an employee for swearing.

The survey of more than two thousand executives conducted by TheLadders.com, specialists in $100k+ jobs, also found that 81.2% of senior executives believe that working alongside a foul mouthed colleague in the office is unacceptable.

TheLadders.com survey looked at how seriously senior managers viewed manners and office etiquette in the current 'F' Word Culture. With 98.7% of survey respondents believing that there is such a thing as 'office etiquette', more than two thirds (69.7%) said that they would fire an employee for bad office manners. 82.4% said that they had given official warnings for making personal calls, talking loudly or wearing revealing clothing.

The top 5 causes for dismissing employees breaching office etiquette were:

  1. Bad language (38.4%)
  2. Excessive workplace gossip (36.5%)
  3. Drinking on the job (35.2%)
  4. Leaving the office without telling anyone (33.6%)
  5. Too many personal calls (28%)

While more than four in five employees found swearing in the workplace unacceptable, the most offensive behavior in the office is stealing a colleague's food from the office refrigerator. No fewer than 97.8% of respondents said that fridge raiders were the worst possible offenders of workplace etiquette. The breaches of office etiquette most often cited by survey respondents featured:

  • Eating someone else’s food from the fridge (97.8%)
  • Bad hygiene (95.6%)
  • Bad habits (88.2%)
  • Drinking on the job (85.7%)
  • Wastefulness with paper (82%)
  • Swearing (81.2%)
  • Cooking smelly food in the office microwave (74.1%)
  • Sneaking peaks at the BlackBerry in meetings (63.5%)

According to Marc Cenedella, TheLadders.com's CEO and founder:

"Some argue that in the 21st century employers should move with the times and accept a more casual work environment. But employees beware, in every office there exists an invisible line between professional and unprofessional and it is very clear from our survey results that some common behaviors definitely cross the line."


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