Get rid of the insubordinate employee. Here's how.

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Employee Insubordination

How to terminate for insubordination and other misconduct



Insubordination occurs when an employee intentionally disobeys a superior level staff member's directive. This directive must be reasonable, ethical and well within the employee's abilities. Ignoring such a request is insubordination. Abusive language used by employees directed toward supervisors or managers as well as other employees is also insubordination.

You cannot tolerate insubordination in the workplace. If one employee acts in this manner, others will soon follow. Workers will begin to ignore project or scheduling requests thus throwing the entire workplace into turmoil. Insubordination leads to low morale in the organization and reduces production, quality, and profit.

The business owner and company leaders should decide the activities of the employees within the boundaries of each employee's job description. However not all employees are the same. Management should not consider an employee insubordinate if he or she cannot perform tasks contained in another worker's job description properly and safely. For example if an employee refuses to operate equipment for which they are not trained to cover for a coworker, this is not insubordination. This is clearly a consideration of worker safety. However if an employee does make this refusal, it must be in a respectful and clear manner to the superior. The superior should then rescind the request instead of forcing the employee to perform a task they would not be safe in performing.

What Exactly Constitutes Insubordination?

With the law suit-happy legal atmosphere employees must deal with, it is important to understand exactly what insubordination is before taking any action for an employee's misdeeds. If you fire an employee for insubordination, you must have valid reasons and document it properly. Only then can you avoid a lawsuit for discriminatory conduct. If done properly, you can also challenge unemployment benefits for employees fired for insubordination.

If you fire for insubordination, your documentation must prove that a direct order was issued to an employee, that they understood it and that they refused to obey it. The employee either disobeyed through a direct statement of refusal or through nonperformance of the task. If the insubordination regards abusive language, the context in which the employee used the language matters a great deal. The employee was insubordinate if the supervisor did not provoke the abusive language, the worker said it in the presence of other employees or business customers and the language was not a common form of talk in that specific workplace. Some workplaces tolerate and use cursing or what others might consider "bad language". If language that might not be acceptable in other situations is the norm for that shop or work area, it is not insubordination to talk in that matter. These are good, simple definitions of employee subordination.

"I was tired of the smart mouth at work. Here's how I got rid of the jerk"

Reasons to Terminate a Problem Employee
A problem employee can damage your business in many ways. He or she can slow down production, cause other employees to become disgruntled, be a safety hazard, or even cause legal troubles. Therefore, it is important for you to either get a problem employee in shape or to terminate him or her before it leads to more problems.
Having Production Slowed by a Problem Employee
You may not realize it, but a problem employee can significantly slow down production. For example, if the problem employee is routinely late arriving to work, production may cease altogether as the other workers wait for the employee to arrive. Or, even if production continues, it may slow down as a less skilled worker tries to take over. The same is true for an employee who purposely works slowly, who abuses break privileges, or who simply doesn’t pay attention to his or her job and makes too many mistakes.
Causing Other Employees to Become Disgruntled Because of a Problem Employee

If you do not take action against the problem employee, this person can quickly and easily cause your other employees to become disgruntled. First, your other employees may believe you are discriminating against them when you come down on them and do not come down on the problem employee. And, by allowing the problem employee to get away with his or her behavior, you are setting a precedent that tells your other employees it is OK to behave in a problematic way. Before you know it, you will have an entire crew of problem employees rather than just one!

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