Profanity in the Breakroom....???

  1. I am not a person who is easily provoked into profanity. However, yesterday I had an awful episode with a resident's family. I was steamin' mad. When I went into the breakroom, two of the aids that I work with were eating lunch. I told them about what had happened. I don't remember what I said exactly, but I am pretty sure that I said something along the lines of "***?" Or "I really just wish they would go the F away." I really don't remember. I just know that I was blowing off steam and trying to calm down before I went back out on the floor.

    At the end of shift I was called to the DON's office and suspended for "using profanity" in the breakroom pending the outcome of the investigation. My DON said this is a firing offense in the organization I am in. I expect that Monday will come and I will be fired.

    The thing that sickens me most about this situation is that the person did not come to me and tell me that they were offended before they complained of it to my DON.

    Has anyone else ever been in this situation? Anyone have any advice beyond not trusting anyone and not blowing off steam until I get home at night. This really makes me feel dirty and is really humilitating. Anyone have any suggestions on how to woo the DON into allowing me to keep my job? This is a first offense for me. And it isn't like I was cussing someone out. I know I was wrong and I am ready to make amends to whom ever I offended.
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    About weirdRN

    Joined: Mar '05; Posts: 618; Likes: 42
    LTC Nurse
    Specialty: Long Term Care

    44 Comments

  3. by   RNsRWe
    Just curious: during your orientation, was it spelled out anywhere that you are forbidden to use profanity in the breakroom? If not, I'd love to see how you could be fired for something you said ON YOUR BREAK in the BREAKROOM. If they prefer you to not do that, swell, but unless it's a regulation or rule you broke....tough on them.

    If I had a buck for everytime I heard a staffer say something truly graphic, I sure wouldn't need the job! I don't use the language myself, sometimes wish the speaker(s) didn't use it either, but until my hospital chooses to disregard the Constitution or put a clause in their employment contracts, it's a protected Amendment.
  4. by   RGN1
    Oh my - all of us in our hospital would be without a job if that was the case where I work! The breakroom is traditionally THE place where you can safely let of steam!! I'm sure that, unless it's in your contract or is written down in your handbook (or wahetever is the USA equivalent), they SURELY can't fire you for it? I'd be talking to a lawyer about now if I were you!
  5. by   weirdRN
    I heard of another nurse being fired for profanity, but she was cussing at the nurses station within the hearing of the residents and families. I do not recall being specifically told that there was a "no profanity" rule. Actually I was on my lunch.

    I knew that if I didn't walk off the floor I was going to say something really nasty and that wouldn't be good for anyone.
  6. by   RNsRWe
    Quote from WhimsieRN
    I heard of another nurse being fired for profanity, but she was cussing at the nurses station within the hearing of the residents and families. I do not recall being specifically told that there was a "no profanity" rule. Actually I was on my lunch.

    I knew that if I didn't walk off the floor I was going to say something really nasty and that wouldn't be good for anyone.
    Of course, swearing at the nurse's station in the earshot of visitors goes beyond acceptable professional conduct. Different than what you did by a long shot.

    Forget what you remember being told. Do you have a handbook of employee rules and regs? An orientation manual? Dig it out, and look it up. If the rule isn't there, it's not a rule. And you can't be held in breach of unprofessional behavior if you weren't acting in your role as a nurse at that moment: it was LUNCH.
  7. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Our policy states that "profanity is forbidden from staff on hospital property." I would assume that breakroom is hospital property and the rule applies there as well (our isn't a fireable offense until the second time).

    Also if someone is saying "i wish they would just go the F away" that might not seem like someone that could be approached (especially if they seem aggitated) about the offensive word without the conversation possibly heading south. Just offering a reason why the person went to the DON about it
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    If your employer can fire you for throwing a single "F"-bomb, in the staff lounge, out of public earshot........well, you don't want to work for them anyway, because if it isn't this, it'll be something else.

    Check your employee handbook; if there is nothing in there in black and white that spells out what you may and may not say in the privacy of the break room, you may have grounds for a lawsuit if you are fired. At the very least you should be able to draw unemployment while you search for an employer that values its nurses more than some ridiculous standard of perfection.........
  9. by   RNHawaii34
    I heard my co workers use the " F" word in the breakroom all the time. I don't like it at all, but I guess this is the what you get when you live in the free country. It doesn't look good when you were your nurse uniform and your nurse badge. I am a pottymouth myself, but I don't say that word while I'm working. Being a nurse I guess you just have to show professionality. sometimes if we get mad, it is really hard to think clearly, but we should at least try...maybe a time out, deep breathe, and THINK what will be the consequences of our actions after we explode. sorry to hear about your "suspension".
  10. by   Mulan
    Quote from mjlrn97
    If your employer can fire you for throwing a single "F"-bomb, in the staff lounge, out of public earshot........well, you don't want to work for them anyway, because if it isn't this, it'll be something else.

    Check your employee handbook; if there is nothing in there in black and white that spells out what you may and may not say in the privacy of the break room, you may have grounds for a lawsuit if you are fired. At the very least you should be able to draw unemployment while you search for an employer that values its nurses more than some ridiculous standard of perfection.........
    Yeah, I think that's a little extreme also. People do get stressed out and say things they wouldn't ordinarily say and regret later, it's like they had no control at the time. It's not like you swore at the patient or the family. Also, what was the motive of the tale bearing (I hate that) employee that reported you? I wouldn't want to work with those kind of people anyway. In the future, just go in the bathroom, turn on the water and vent and get it out of your system in there where no one can hear you.
  11. by   Jules A
    I would be offended that the co-worker offended didn't have the decency to speak to you directly. I don't have a problem with profanity off the floor but would respect a co-worker if they mentioned that it offended them before reporting me!
  12. by   Tweety
    That's the way people are, they'd rather complain behind your back than to your face. I hope they're happy on their high judgemental horse if you do get fired.

    Really, I think it should just be a write up rather than a termination, they need to give you a written warning. So I would think.

    If it were me and I got written up, I'd transfer out of that unit with the reason being I don't wouldn't want to work with those people, or even quit. My self-righteous anger would get the best of me.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by Tweety on Sep 24, '06
  13. by   firstaiddave907
    Quote from Tweety
    That's the way people are, they'd rather complain behind your back than to your face. I hope they're happy on their high judgemental horse if you do get fired.

    Really, I think it should just be a write up rather than a termination, they need to give you a written warning. So I would think.

    If it were me and I got written up, I'd transfer out of that unit with the reason being I don't wouldn't want to work with those people, or even quit. My self-righteous anger would get the best of me.

    Good luck.
    Thas a very good point tweety
  14. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from mjlrn97
    If your employer can fire you for throwing a single "F"-bomb, in the staff lounge, out of public earshot........well, you don't want to work for them anyway, because if it isn't this, it'll be something else.
    Is it my imagination, or are employers just hell-bent determined to get rid of anyone they want to, these days? What is going on, here, anyway?? This is getting ridiculous! :angryfire

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