A-Z Index | Forms
Identify the problem and take appropriate action
Performance improvement plan
Documenting an investigationJust cause self audit
The special case of insubordination
University Human Resource Services
The Special Case of Insubordination
Insubordination is an over-used and misused word. In the work environment it has a very narrow definition with serious consequences to the work and to the employee.
What is insubordination?
•Insubordination is a deliberate and inexcusable refusal to obey a reasonable order which relates to an employee's job function. The refusal may be openly stated or it may be a silent witholding of services. Merely protesting an assignment is not insubordination. Employees may not decide for themselves which instructions they will follow and which they will not. Employees must first follow the order and then turn to the grievance procedure if they feel the order was improper. In other words, the rule is "work now, grieve later". •The employee is responsible for telling you why the order is being refused. What to do if you believe insubordination has occurred
Rephrase the assignment as a specific requirement, not as a mere request.
It must be clear that the employee was told to do something, not just asked. (Note: Do not interpret this to mean that you should give all instructions in the form of commands. Phrasing instructions as requests is polite and motivating to most employees. If there is a problem with getting a particular instruction obeyed, then put it in the form of a specific requirement.)
State that noncompliance will result in discipline.
Tell the employee that refusal to fulfill a specific job requirement can lead to discipline up to and including discharge. Ask why the order was not followed.
Correct or attempt to correct unsafe or illegal conditions....