Cursing at Bosses Is Ruled Protected Concerted Activity

Cursing at Bosses Is Ruled Protected Concerted Activity iStock

It’s an unwritten rule that cursing out your boss can get you in big trouble. But on the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog, Jon Hyman says that the National Labor Relations Board actually sided with an employee who called his supervisors a variety of names during an outburst at a meeting about commissions, minimum wage and worker breaks.

The incident took place at Plaza Auto Center in Yuma, Ariz., and he says that the employee, Nick Aguirre, even told his supervisors they would regret firing him, which is what they ultimately did.

Surprisingly, Hyman says, the NLRB concluded the termination was unlawful because it violated Aguirre’s Section 7 rights to engage in protected concerted activity. He says the board determined that since the outburst occurred in a closed-door meeting in a manager’s office and no other employee overheard, or was likely to overhear, what took place, the worker’s actions did not unduly impair “the respondent’s interest in maintaining order and discipline in its establishment.”

Hyman calls the outcome “troubling to all employers. Apparently, we live in a world in which an employee can call his boss a f***ing mother f***er and get away with it, merely because it was said during a meeting in which the employee also happened to be discussing certain working conditions.”

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