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The F Word Means You're Fired!

TheLadders Survey of $100k+ Job Seekers Finds Bad Language the Most Punishable Workplace Offense; 81% of Employees Believe Swearing is Unacceptable

NEW YORK (April 28, 2008) - As the economy continues to sour, curse words have become standard parts of speech in many offices across the country. But beware, cussing at work could cost you your career. A new survey out today from, the world's leading online marketplace for $100k+ jobs, reveals that 36% of US bosses have issued a formal warning, and 6% have fired an employee for swearing, deeming a foul mouth the most punishable of all workplace faux pas.

The poll of more than two thousand executives conducted by also finds that 81.2% of senior execs find a foul mouthed colleague unacceptable to work alongside in the office.

In the current "F" Word Culture, report looked at how seriously senior managers viewed manners and office etiquette. They found that 98.7% of survey respondents believed that the idea of office etiquette does exist and the majority (69.7%) said that they would fire an employee for bad office manners. The bulk of respondents (82.4%) have given an official warning for etiquette offences such as personal calls, loud talking or revealing clothing.

Of managers who have terminated employees for office etiquette offenses, the top 5 most common causes were the following:

1. Bad language (38.4%)

2. Excessive workplace gossip (36.5%)

3. Drinking on the job (35.2%)

4. Leaving the office without telling anyone (33.6%)

5. Too many personal calls (28%)

When it comes to dealing with bad behavior in the cubicle next-door, co-workers had a slightly higher threshold for bad language. While 81.2% said they deem swearing in the workplace unacceptable, the absolute most offensive thing an office worker can do to his or her colleagues is steal their food from the office refrigerator. A full 97.8% of respondents rated fridge raiders the worst possible offenders of workplace etiquette. When asked to rate the worst affronts to office etiquette, survey respondents selected the following most frequently:

1. Eating someone else's food from the fridge (97.8%)

2. Bad hygiene (95.6%)

3. Bad habits (88.2%)

4. Drinking on the job (85.7%)

5. Wastefulness with paper (82%)

Other common office annoyances showing up in the survey - which were deemed unacceptable - were cooking smelly food in the office microwave (74.1%) and sneaking peaks at the BlackBerry in meetings (63.5%).

Marc Cenedella, CEO and founder of, says: "Some argue that in the 21st century employers should move with the times and accept a more casual work environment. But employees beware, in every office there exists an invisible line between professional and unprofessional and it is very clear from our survey results that some common behaviors definitely cross the line."

About is the world's largest online service catering exclusively to the $100k+ job market. Our job is to make the search for senior talent and senior positions quick and effective. With access to the most $100k+ job leads in one place, senior level professionals can get to the next step in their careers faster. Top recruiters value the ability to quickly and easily connect with so much qualified talent in the sales, marketing, finance, HR, legal, tech and operations industries. Founded in 2003 by Marc Cenedella, has grown into the largest specialty employment website in the world, with over 2,000,000 members and over 35,000 recruiters. In addition to traditional job search services, also provides a host of specialized career development resources, including a proven, one-on-one resume service; advice from career experts; customized online profiles; and e-mail alerts. is headquartered in New York with offices in London. For more information, please visit or

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Maria Schiller