Goldman Sachs (GS) is banning swearing in employee emails. The message has been spread around the firm verbally rather than in writing, according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper writes: "In the spirit of the times, there is no written directive specifying which curses now are officially cursed. But screening tools being used by the firm would detect common swear words and acronyms."
Morgan Stanley (MS) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) already have similar rules. At CME Group (CME) workers can be fined for profanity. The Journal also writes that such policies have become more widespread. Bloomberg has screened email for a decade and looks for about 70 offensive words -- in more than one language.
It's not entirely clear why the bans are in place. Email with profanity is unlikely to be the cause of legal proceedings (except for sexual harassment cases), while emails mentioning questionable trades and actions that could violate federal or state laws obviously can be. Goldman Sachs and a number of other firms found this out the hard way.
It's impossible to bar verbal swearing, so perhaps Goldman employees will have to stop by each other's offices to express their real feelings, while remembering to close the door.
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