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