Are employers allowed to curse at you in front of other co-workers and then write you up for insubordination?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Are employers allowed to curse at you in front of other co-workers and then write you up for insubordination?

My son was hurt at work and now they are all ignoring me and being rude. I asked my boss to join him in chit-chat to hopefully clear the air and next thing I know I am being yelled at in front of everybody and called a smartass. Then I recieved a write-up insubordination. Is this right?

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Since this action was not based on legally actionable discrimination (i.e. based on your race, religion, disability, age (over 40), etc), it was legal. However, if your treatment violated the terms of any exisiting employment contract or union agreement, then you would have a claim. Otherwise, while unprofessional and rude, your employer's action was perfectly permissable under the law. The fact is that most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit or deems appropriate. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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