Is profanity a component of a hostile work environment? Loud (shouted) profanity about all manner of things from work situations to uncooperative computers... regular outbursts. Name-calling directed at third parties but not at the people within earshot. We know it is completely unprofessional and there is an anger management problem here, but is it a hostile work environment issue?
Profanity is often cited as a component of a hostile work environment. Because of the environmental degradation that results when profanity is pervasive, epithets based on sex, race, religion and other personal characteristics protected by law seem to have a way of gaining acceptance. The use of profanity comes up frequently in the context of sexual harassment cases simply because profanity by its nature seems to invite sexually explicit jokes and commentary.
The law does not dictate what is appropriate or professional in the workplace. It merely carves out a narrow subset of behaviors that Congress and the courts have deemed so despicable and pernicious that a victim should have the opportunity to formally seek damages. As a general rule, your workplace can be disrespectful, degrading and positively hostile. Yet, unless you can make a connection between that hostility and a category protected under law, the conduct is not illegal. In your case, if the profanity that you are hearing is accompanied by sexual, racial or other epithets, even if they are not directed at you, then the conditions are being created for bona fide hostile work environment claim.