"Coarse" Language Termination Overturned

September 18, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Making a nasty comment about a boss' lineage was enough to get a worker fired, but not enough to keep him terminated, according to a recent appellate court ruling.

The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, Spain has ordered that a worker who called his boss what translates to “son of a bit.ch,” must either be reinstated to his position, or be paid about $11,000 in compensation.

According to the Associated Press, the worker unleashed that epithet during a January 2008 money dispute in the northeastern city of Gerona. He also allegedly called his superior “crazy, and was promptly fired.

The worker lost a first court challenge, but won on appeal with the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia in February.

Social Degradation

“Without a doubt, both expressions are insulting,” Judge Sara Maria Pose Vidal said in the ruling, noting also that when the man called his boss crazy, he had been on his way out of the office and the boss did not hear it. As for the worker’s word choices, she noted that “The social degradation of language has caused the expressions used by the plaintiff to become commonly used in certain settings, especially in arguments,” ruling that his subsequent termination was disproportionate to the injury.