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Is it against the law to curse at an employee

Rialto, CA |

Is it against the law to curse at an employee

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Attorney answers 3


Generally, no. Improper conduct against an employee has to be based upon some type of protected conduct or classification (i.e. race, sex, age, national origin, etc). While cursing at an employee may be rude and inappropriate, it is not illegal...

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So being cursed at by your employer is legal?

David Herman Hirsch

David Herman Hirsch


It may seem harsh, but yes. Also, unless you have a contract or are protected by a collective bargaining agreement, in California employees in the private sector are "at will", which means you can be terminated at any time, for any or no reason.


No. If cursing at employees were illegal, half the companies in California would be sued. Of course, there are some words which can never be used because of their racial or sexual offensiveness. It often depends on the context.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.


Generally there is no law that makes it unlawful to curse at an employee. However, there are some limits.

First, if the cursing takes on a sexual tone, regardless of whether the gender of the employee is the same or opposite of the boss or coworker, the cursing can, when it reaches the level that one would call it severe or pervasive, constitute sexual harassment. Remember that same sex harassment is a viable theory under the law, and constantly pummeling a same sex employee with curses that have a sexual content might be harassment, even if there is no desire to have sex with that person.

Second, if the cursing is directed at only targeted persons of a particular protected class, or only at people who have engaged in some form of legally protected conduct, then it is unlawful.

Third, if the cursing rises to such a level that the employee becomes so stressed out that they become disabled from performing their job, the employer can still be the subject of a workers compensation claim.

Good luck to you.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

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