My job of 26 years just underwent a change of management. Language has become very vulgar. A month ago a manager called a subordinate person a


When addressed, the manager said that he was kidding, laughed at me, and walked away laughing. I said to him that it's not acceptable. I brought it to the store manager. The only feedback I got was the store manager saying that it's not good.

Today, another manager and subordinate were publicly discussing a customer. This manager said, "Oh he is a Dick." I responded, "Enough of that language. Not acceptable." Upon ending her shift, she (the manager? Subordinate?) said, "That is fucking stupid." I told her, "That is not acceptable and please stop the language. The language is offending me and I don't like it."

What should I do?

  • 5
    Where in the world is this taking place? And which line of business?
    – morsor
    Jun 5, 2016 at 18:50
  • it is in the food business
    – mar rich
    Jun 5, 2016 at 18:55
  • 2
    Could it be that most other employees are much younger than you - and therefore have a different tone in their colloquial language?
    – morsor
    Jun 5, 2016 at 18:56
  • 11
    @marrich additionally, it would help if you clarified your role in the organization. If you are a superior manager, you may have authority here. However, if you are a subordinate, your options may be substantially more limited.
    – atk
    Jun 5, 2016 at 19:45
  • 2
    slap them?..... then say you were just joking?
    – Kilisi
    Jun 11, 2016 at 23:28

4 Answers 4


I disagree with Morsor -- There are two issues here, though they are very related. One is foul language. The other is disrespect. People have a lot of opinions about foul language, and I myself am of the opinion that they're just words and the offended party puts a lot of power behind them, not just the speaker.

HOWEVER -- vulgarity and disrespect/negativity often go hand in hand, and it seems the latter is the issue here.

Management should not be calling people names. They should be doing their job - managing people. Resorting to name-calling is easy, completely ineffective, and only creates divisions in the workplace (someone else agreeing or disagreeing that so-and-so is a ____.) Management should also not be calling your simple request 'fucking stupid'. This manager seems horrible at his job.

Perhaps address that instead? Go to his boss and perhaps explain that he/she is being disrespectful to both employees and customers, is acting immature and not doing his job well, and so on.

  • 2
    Depending on where the OP is, the word they mention in particular could be construed as sexual harassment. Jun 6, 2016 at 16:25

If this problem only seems to bother you, there is probably not a lot to do.

You could talk to others at work and find out if many other people find it as offensive as you. If it turns out you are not alone, you could get management involved.

However, I could imagine that management would be more concerned if the offensive language was overheard by customers. If it's going on in a high-pace kitchen behind closed doors, they could perhaps just view that as 'normal'.

  • 1
    i am a manager for 26 years and Mcdonalds has always been known for their respect and integrity and just this situation leads to ongoing situations as i stated a month ago it said again this month and it will continue and who knows maybe next time it get out of hand
    – mar rich
    Jun 5, 2016 at 19:11
  • 6
    What's wrong in letting it go, is that if there are eventually clients customer around; employees together will be vulgar and this will be overheard eventually by customers. Customers will frown.
    – user48138
    Jun 5, 2016 at 19:12
  • 3
    I guess it called respect for my company and people
    – mar rich
    Jun 5, 2016 at 19:13
  • 3
    Letting go makes me a part of what is wrong
    – mar rich
    Jun 5, 2016 at 19:14
  • 4
    @marrich I guess that if you inform the upper management at your company (which invests a lot into the image they project to customers) that some of the employees are 'slacking', they'll eventually take a closer look at management in place.
    – user48138
    Jun 5, 2016 at 19:14

This is a company culture issue. It sounds like the new management is successfully changing company culture. Other than the first word, none of the other events would be that unusual to me at a prior place I worked that I would not describe as particularly toxic.

The answer depends on your ranking. If all these managers are above your head and okay with it, and their managers are okay with it or don't care, don't expect anything to change. You can ask people kindly to treat one another with respect, but if you simply call out their foul language they will not really change and might wonder why you are policing their words. Curse words are just words afterall, right? Is the issue really that someone uses the F-word, or that colleagues are disrespecting one another?

The next time someone says "that guy is a f-ing idiot" you could say "hey, I also disagree with his decision on this, but we don't need to personally insult him to criticize his ideas." If you call people out on language they will treat you like some out-of-touch old school marm. At best maybe modify behavior in front of you, or worse possibly tease you and consider you old fashioned and inflexible. You might find yourself excluded politically from this new culture.

In my experience, management cares only about not getting insulted themselves, and about getting the job done. If Joe is a manager and screams and chews out his employees but he gets things done, he will be perceived as a success despite how much abuse or profanity he doles out. If the culture up to upper management is to accept certain things, don't expect a complaining employee to change that. There has to be valid business reasons for them to consider changing anything, and in my cynical experience even a bunch of unhappy and leaving employees will often not change this. The ones who complain and leave are perceived as "bad eggs" and "good riddance to bad rubbish". Especially if Joe "really gets things done."


You should be more upset that people are insulting the customers than what words they are using to insult them.

Insulting the customers is something that management can and should take action against. You can report that if you wish.

Saying words that you in particular don't like is not something management should take action against. Why? Well tomorrow someone comes in and says that they are offended by a bunch of things you routinely say in passing when you're frustrated. Do we ban all those words too? Who gets to judge?

  • Reasonable and professional limits on appropriate business practices are pervasive: Dress guidelines, grooming standards, attitude expectations, etc. Nothing is different with language. You could apply your logic to anything and lower the bar until everything is allowed because no particular person should expect that their ideas are better than the next. Who gets to judge? Sometimes management, sometimes society, and sometimes even one individual can assert themselves. I for one don't tolerate the f-word (among others) in the workplace and don't loose any sleep choosing to be the judge.
    – C Perkins
    Jul 25, 2017 at 15:25

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