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News : Madras High Court: Abusive Language Not Enough for Dismissal, Says Court.

  • The Madras High Court has ruled that using abusive language is not a serious offense that warrants dismissal from a job.
  • The court made this decision while dealing with an appeal challenging the termination of an employee by their management.
  • The case involved a worker who was a secretary of a tea workers’ union.
  • During a meeting, the worker intervened when a supervisor was threatening the workers to increase production.
  • The worker managed to calm the situation and requested that the issues be discussed with the union.
  • However, the worker was suddenly issued an inquiry notice and faced false allegations.
  • The management conducted an unfair inquiry, ignoring the principles of natural justice, and ultimately terminated the worker’s employment.
  • The worker argued that they were targeted due to their involvement in trade union activities, which is an unfair labor practice.
  • The court observed that in cases involving misappropriation or breach of trust, past records are not crucial. However, when imposing punishment, the authority must consider the circumstances and the employee’s past behavior.
  • In this particular case, the worker had previously received punishment in 2001, but the incident in question occurred a decade later.
  • The court concluded that the usage of abusive language may not be severe enough to warrant dismissal.
  • The court further explained that the labor court has the power to intervene if it finds the punishment to be disproportionately harsh.
  • It emphasized that no worker should disrupt the peaceful atmosphere of the workplace.
  • In this case, the worker was accused of shouting angrily at a superior, which was considered unbecoming of an employee.
  • The court referred to a previous case where it was held that hate speech does not enjoy the same protection as free speech when it infringes on someone else’s fundamental rights.
  • The court acknowledged that determining the cause of the worker’s behavior and who provoked them is a question of fact that cannot be resolved in this appeal.
  • It also noted that simply absolving the worker of charges would not address their misconduct.
  • Taking into account the worker’s age and the difficulty of finding employment at their stage in life, the court partially modified the previous order.
  •  The bench allowed the worker’s appeal, recognizing that using abusive language alone does not warrant dismissal from employment.

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