Q&A Session – Profane Language in the Workplace


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


Who can I talk to about an inspector making public profanity comments in a public building to me? As background, I am a contract security guard. An inspector was explaining something to my partner and when I asked a question he yelled at me and used profane language.


I assume the inspector you mention is a federal employee. As a contract employee, you should report the incident to your company’s management and ask them to report it to the contractor’s technical representative at the agency. The conduct you describe is potentially actionable, although, because of the Privacy Act, you may never learn if any action is taken.

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  1. I work for the Federal Government and another employee which sits next to me uses profanity daly and using the F word, GS, MF.. and other offensive words on a daily basis. I have documented his behavior daily and my supervisor talks to this person but he is not moved nor has his cursing stopped. What laws address this? Do I have the right to ask this stop? It stresses me out and keeps me from staying focused daily. Besides this person has been with the government for 40+ years and does nothing… but read the paper and does nto even have a computer. I work so hard and most of the time this person yells, screams and hits his deskl and has ourbursts… for no appaarent reason.I was told his behavior is something all manager and supervisors have been aware of for a number of year… and no one cares… I was told to suck it up… hear earphones and or move… What are my rights …his actions keep me on edge daily and by the time I leave work eveyday… I feel I have endured working at a mental institution … with grouring and weird sounds and cussing all the time… I have to decompress when I leave my work place eveyday. I feel I have the right to come to work free from hositility… and free from fear…

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