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Here's How To Swear At Work the Right Way

Donald Trump might become the next U.S. president, it's time to do your taxes, and the boss just asked you to stay late again.

There's a lot to swear about, isn't there? Here's how to employ your potty mouth at work without sending your career down the toilet!

It's debatable whether swearing at work is professional, but sometimes swear words can, and do, make their way into workplace conversations. "Stuff" happens, as they say. But where does the law fall on swearing at work in an at-will economy?

For best workplace results, try to limit your swearing to conversations about working conditions, wages and hours!

An article on food and restaurant website Eater.com entitled "Restaurant Workers Right To Swear Might Be Protected By Law" serves up this topic and hey, I'd probably swear too if I just burned my hand on a searing stove while a server was explaining a picky customer's complaint about the food being lukewarm.

The story references the case of a swearing Hooters waitress who got her job back. From the article:

In the Hooters case, the waitress lost her job for swearing, but the real reason was that she was "discussing working conditions." Since Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act permits workers to discuss matters like wages, hours and unionization, Hooters couldn't legally fire the waitress for talking about working conditions. The restaurant blamed her for swearing. But discussing working conditions is a protected activity. So if workers swear while engaging in this protected activity, they're off the hook. In other words, they can't be fired for swearing if they're talking about their hours.

Will swearing only in regard to protected workplace activities such as working conditions, wages and hours really keep an at-will employer from firing you for any reason at any time? Probably not, but if you were fired for cursing and want your job back, maybe it would help if you can show that you were swearing in a non-threatening way about this month's revamped work schedule or how you haven't had a raise in three years.

Of course, I am not a lawyer and I haven't had a raise in more than three years, so what do I know. You'll need to consult a trained employment lawyer who hasn't yet been replaced by a legal website or a teenager's robot. I swear, our economy needs some work.

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