Insubordination: Definition, Resolutions, Letter Template
Insubordination is the act of directly or indirectly refusing to perform a duty, task, legal action, ethical action or process that has been given as clear directive from a manager, superior or leader.
A common misconception is that insubordination is when an employee verbally insults, disrespects, or shows “pushback” toward a manager or superior. That is considered insolence, which is not the same as insubordination.
Misconduct is another form of misbehavior that is confused with insubordination. Misconduct is when an employee is acting with criminal, harassing, or unethical behavior.
All three of these types of issues are normally covered within a business code of conduct, handbook, or other human resource guidelines.
Insubordination or insubordinate behavior is the act of willfully disobeying an order of one’s superior. Refusing to perform an action that is unethical or illegal is not insubordination; neither is refusing to perform an action that is not within the scope of authority of the person issuing the order.
What Is Considered Insubordination in the Workplace?
When a request is made on behalf of a superior, in order for it to be considered insubordination, the original request must be one that is of legal, ethical or reasonable nature.
If that is the case and the employee refuses to obey that request, through verbal or physical actions. Then the employee would be portraying insubordination. This verbal refusal of work or to perform on the job may be considered disobeying a valid authority figure in the workplace.
If the insubordinate employee passively refuses the request, such as openly ignoring the request, then the employee would still be portraying insubordination in the workplace.
Can You Be Fired for Insubordination?
Insubordination may be efficient enough evidence to provide immediate dismissal of the employee (or to be terminated or “fired”). Companies have employee handbooks, codes of conduct, and other disciplinary guides that are provided to each new hire during their training process. These are the assets that should be referenced when determining how insubordination is handled in the work environment.
Gross insubordination, which constitutes repeated employee handbook violations or repeated disrespectful behavior, may result in the discipline such as termination. Gross insubordination may apply to those who are unwilling to perform the official duties of their job. Or the use of abusive language on the job. Or the desire to be a difficult employee. All of which may result in immediate termination.
What If The Request Was Made by Someone Without Authority?
If an employee received a request by another employee, who is not their superior, and the request was dismissed, it is not considered insubordination. As long as the original request was not deemed unethical or illegal and it is not on behalf of a peer (a colleague or someone who lacks the authority of that employee), then denying the request is not considered insubordination.
Insubordinate behavior is normally constituted when the refusal to perform the official duties of the job is given to a supervisor, manager, boss, or superior worker. This repeated act to the supervisor is employee insubordination.
What Is Not Considered Insubordination?
In the U.S., many work cultures embrace conflict. The types of conflict they hope to embrace are those that present innovation and progress. If you, the employee, were to receive a request from your superior or employer, then disagree with that request and communicate your disagreement; that would be not be considered insubordination.
If your superior or employer, in that same work scenario, were to dismiss your disagreement and ask for you to complete the directed work, with you denying it; that would be considered insubordination.
What Type of Dismissal is Insubordination Considered?
When dismissal happens due to insubordination, it would be considered termination for poor performance. This type of termination is not considered wrongful termination. And performance may be justified or spoken to in the employment agreement signed on behalf of the employee during their acceptance of an employment offer.
Proving an Employee Has Been Insubordinate
The process for proving that an employee has been insubordinate would be the following:
1. Document the original request made by you, the superior.
2. Document the nature of which the employee refused your request.
3. Document any time or losses the business suffered through the insubordinate nature.
4. Write a formal insubordination letter communicating the conflict with terse simplicity and factual evidence.
5. File any formal paperwork your Human Resources department may have for employee conflicts.
6. Meet with your superior to discuss the insubordination, ensure that it has been documented by Human Resources, and develop a plan to move forward (conflict resolution).
All insubordination should be properly documented and submitted to your Human Resources team before attempting to resolve a conflict.
The steps to resolve insubordination are:
1. Schedule a meeting with the superior and employee.
2. Replay the insubordinate action in a retrospective manner.
3. Discuss what can be done to prevent insubordination in the future.
4. Discuss steps that can be taken for both the superior and the employee to improve collaboration.
Insubordination Letter Example
An insubordination letter is a letter of termination that is provided to an employee on behalf of a Human Resources team. These letters indicate the dismissal of the employee as well as an outline of the performance issues which caused the dismissal.
Insubordination in Military or Police
It's important to note that this article speaks only about the consequence of insubordinate behavior due to employee's actions in the modern workplace. If you are a service member of the military and you are wanting to learn about military law, you should learn more about military insubordination here.
If you are an officer of the law and looking to learn about insubordination as it pertains to one officer's refusal to perform a duty for their superior officer, you should learn about insubordination in the police force here.
Phone interviews have become a core part of the process when attempting to find a secured placement for an open position. Companies receive massive responses from potential candidates for any..
Concerning a job search, you might receive numerous offers from your recruiters. Before you choose one, you need to assess all the conditions, for which it is vital that you know everything associated with the offered position..
Answering this question during a job interview requires more than knowing why you are unique as an individual. Yes, the true scientific answer is made up of two main components: your..
So, you have been in search of a job for a considerable time but are yet to be selected for one. If that's the case, don’t worry anymore because we have got you covered..
Open-ended questions like “What motivates you?” can elicit a deer-in-the-headlights reaction from job candidates if they are unprepared. It’s a broad question and can leave the interviewer..
A lot of interviewers ask this question - how did you hear about this position? This way they can judge you if you are a passive or an active job seeker..
Writing a thank you note after an interview says a lot about you as a potential employee. Most notably, it says that you care about the opportunities presented..
Writing the perfect letter of resignation is more of an art than it is a science. And we’re going to cover how to master that art form in this full guide..
Knowing how to end a business note or email is an important skill to develop. It helps portray a sense of confidence, respect and tone to your message..