If you’ve ever worked in a company, business, or shop, chances are you have heard the words ranging from insubordinate employee to insubordinate behavior to insubordinate conduct. And if you’re an employer in a company you’ve probably heard these terms as well.
But when it comes right down to it, do you know what any of these terms are whether you’re an employee or employer?
In most instances, when it comes to the workplace, insubordination or wilful disregard on-site is a serious issue that can have far-reaching consequences for employees and employers unless there the issue of consequences is addressed.
This article explores the definition of insubordination, the intentional disregard for the workplace, its causes, its effects on employees and companies, ways to prevent and how to address all of this in the workplace, and more before — preferably before the agreement of hire.
So if you’re looking to better understand what it means to be fired for insubordination, or if you need to terminate an employee for insubordination, perform an action to terminate or grounds for dismissal keep reading below.
Insubordination is a term used to describe when an employee refuses to obey their supervisor’s commands or actions and their general wanton disregard for what is being instructed.
It can include disregarding rules, not following instructions, or any other behavior that goes against their superior’s orders. Insubordination can be intentional or unintentional, but it is always considered a serious breach of protocol in the workplace and can lead to disciplinary action as well as an economic consequence for both parties — being fired or firing someone for insubordination.
All employers have the right to expect employees to comply with their directives without aggressive behavior and any failure to do so by a supervisor, manager, or the like will typically result in consequences and possible termination and/or dismissal without notice. So, you should mind your Ps and Qs.
Being fired for Insubordination Hurts
The most common causes of insubordination are feelings of frustration or anger toward management and/or fellow employees a lack of understanding regarding expectations or instructions, or a feeling that one’s work is not being appreciated.
Other potential causes and signs of insubordination could include a lack of trust in the employer or supervisor, feeling overwhelmed with too much responsibility, or even fear of change and uncertainty about the future.
Disregard for Authority
Disregarding authority in contemporary society is something that can happen in the workplace, and certainly, have tough consequences. When employees disregard their supervisor’s instructions or orders, they are not only disregarding the authority of their employer but also exhibiting disrespect to their coworkers.
This type of behavior is unacceptable in any business setting and can lead to disciplinary action and probably should be.
Contempt for Company Policy
When it comes to running a successful business, company policies are important and can keep employees in line as well as the business moving in a positive direction. After all, as an employer of a business you don’t want to have a bad customer experience or have an insubordinate employee have contact with customers let alone even be in the presence of customers.
Establishing and enforcing policies lets employers maintain a safe work environment and ensure that employee behavior is in line with organizational goals. Unfortunately, some employees may show contempt for company policy, disregarding rules or failing to comply with regulations. This type of behavior can be detrimental to the workplace, creating an atmosphere of mistrust among coworkers and disrupting productivity. Overall, the behavior of one could transfer over to other employees and cause a ripple effect.
Not Abiding by the Rules
When it comes to doing the job following instructions is a key part of being a successful employee. Every workplace has its own set of rules and regulations that must be followed for tasks to be completed properly and efficiently. Unfortunately, some employees may refuse to follow instructions given by their superiors. This type of behavior can have serious consequences for the individual and the business as a whole and may need independent action or emergency action. In some cases, it may even result in calling in employment lawyers.
Depending on the situation, an employee may feel that defying a direct order is their only option. In this case, it’s best to consult with someone who understands the company’s policies and procedures before taking any action like HR, a unit supervisor, or a direct manager. They should be able to provide guidance and advice on how to proceed so you don’t find yourself facing repercussions from management.
Remember in general direct orders are given in the workplace by authority figures for a reason. They are put in place so employees complete when they have been hired to do as well as know when they’re not followed, this could spell trouble for the employee and the business. Defying direct orders is never recommended, but sometimes it may be necessary if the order is unethical or illegal. So if this is the case either as an employer or as an employee being reported for employee misconduct, know your legal rights.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that some forms of inappropriate behavior and doubt of authority or even crossing the lines of authority could be unintentional or even cultural misunderstandings between coworkers. If you notice an employee engaging in inappropriate behavior, it’s best to take action right away before it escalates further and employment lawyers are needed. Have a private conversation with them, discussing their current employment relationship and explaining why their actions are unacceptable and how they need to correct their behavior going forward before there is an action to the termination.
Effects of Insubordination
For employers, insubordination can be costly and time-consuming to address. It can create a lot of tension between coworkers, lower employee morale, and decrease productivity. It also sends a message to other employees that this kind of behavior is acceptable which could cause further problems down the line leading to even more action the termination.
The effects of insubordination in the workplace can be far-reaching because when someone is openly disobedient, or exhibiting defiance of authority, creating a substantial breach of their job description it sends a message to others that this kind of behavior is accepted, which could lead them to follow suit. This can create tension between coworkers and hurt morale in the grand scheme of things.
Employers should take steps to prevent insubordination from occurring by having clear expectations and policies in place for all employees.
Open communication is also essential so all employees in the business feel respected and heard. Management should be understanding when issues arise, as this will help employees feel comfortable speaking up if something isn’t right. In essence: if you see something, saying something is always a good practice.
Defeating a Stressful Work Environment
If you do witness insubordination by an employee, employers need to address the issue quickly and firmly. It should be managed with kid gloves as any disciplinary action taken could lead to further issues if not handled properly. Open communication is necessary so that employees feel heard and respected. It’s also important to provide clear expectations and policies so all employees know where they stand in terms of their roles and responsibilities.
In addition to providing advice and guidance on potential legal action, an experienced employment lawyer might be needed to work closely with an employer to negotiate a fair settlement in cases where termination was not wrongful or illegal.
A skilled lawyer will be able to assess all options available and advocate for a reasonable resolution that meets your needs and helps you get through the issues.
Bottom-line on Insubordination
Insubordination in the workplace can be a major disruption and cause unnecessary tension, but with the right policies in place and proactive steps taken, companies can help prevent it and handle issues quickly and effectively when they do arise.
Keep in mind that insubordination or an insubordinate employee can be found anyplace and at any time from a bakery worker to a clerical worker, shop manager,
Overall, having clear communication in the employee handbook and employment contracts can go a long way toward preventing issues related to insubordination in the workplace.
As an employer do take time to review the company’s current documents and make sure they have all the necessary information needed to set clear expectations for everyone involved.
As an employer, you might even think about hosting a seminar or class given by an office manager or the like to discuss examples of insubordination and how an employee in question might find themselves as an employee written up as an employee for misconduct.
Employers need to address minor issues before they escalate into larger problems and abusive language, profane language, offensive language, disrespectful behavior, arguments with supervisors, bad contact with customers, or simply hearing from customers that the employee was All of these examples of insubordination could result in loss of business, an error in judgment of hiring the invoicing and perhaps not checking the employee’s history with a previous employer.
Whether major or minor incidents, having a disciplinary plan can help with this by outlining how these incidents will be handled, what consequences might occur if an employee fails to comply with expectations, and how employees can appeal decisions made about their misconduct.
This can help ensure that all employees feel heard and respected in the workplace and help create an atmosphere of trust between employer and employee.
This should include not just information about job performance requirements, but also any policies regarding appropriate conduct on the job.
What is not considered insubordination?
- An employee who refuses to perform an action they are not required to do (i.e. an action outside the scope of the employee’s job duties);
- An employee who misunderstands instructions resulting in their failure to act;
- An employee who refuses to perform an unethical or illegal activity;
- An employee who does not comply with an order that is not reasonable in light of the norms of contemporary society;
- An employee who refuses to perform an action issued by someone who does not have authority;
- An employee who refuses unsafe work; or
- An employee’s lack of consent to a change in remuneration.
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