Offensive Language at Meetings


Q & A Session – Offensive Language at Meetings

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.


My wife attends meetings on a regular basis. During these meetings she observes individuals, including managers, decision makers and the like, freely using offensive, suggestive or abusive language, occasionally directed at fellow attendees. Does my wife have recourse to prevent this practice?


I don’t know if your wife is a federal employee. Assuming she is, she has three options. First, she can simply and informally complain to higher ups. Second, she can file a formal grievance. Third, if she believes the comments have a sexual tone or are offensive to her gender, she can start the Equal Employment Opportunity process.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw, Bransford & Roth, PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to

1 Comment

  1. Only un educated supervisors

    That need to respect others.

    They need to leave their lack of education at home!!!!


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