INSUBORDINATION 101

INSUBORDINATION 101

WHAT IS INSUBORDINATION?

Laws v. London Chronicle [Indicator Newspapers] Ltd [1959] 2 All ER 285

It is, no doubt, therefore, generally true that willful disobedience of an order will justify summary dismissal since wilful disobedience of a lawful and reasonable order shows a disregard – a complete disregard – of a condition essential to the contract of service, namely the condition that the servant must obey the proper orders of the master and that unless he does so the relationship is, so to speak, struck at fundamentally.

GENERAL RULE

As per the SOCIETY OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, insubordination contains these three elements:-

  • The employer gives the order.
  • The employee acknowledges the order.
  • The employee refuses to carry out the order.

COMMON TYPE OF INSUBORDINATION IN WORKPLACE

  • Rejecting an order
  • Confrontation 
  • Abusive and vulgar words
  • Rude, Aggressive and Threatening Behaviour 

WHEN IS IT NOT INSUBORDINATION?

  • When the instruction given by the superior is illegal, dangerous or unethical. Insubordination can only occur when the instruction provided is ethical, reasonable and is part of their job scope.
  • When the instruction is not given by someone with authority.

THE RIGHT PROCEDURE TO HANDLE INSUBORDINATION

  • Establish the facts of the case
  • Investigate the facts – ask witnesses, check the CCTV recording
  • Issue a Show Cause Letter detailing the allegation 
  • Invite the employee to the domestic enquiry (if he denied)
  • Decide on the punishment 

REDUCING INSURBORDINATION 

  • A well-drafted job description 
  • The transfer should only be ordered for good business reasons
  • Train managers/ supervisors on dealing with an upset an emotional subordinate 
  • Encourage the employee to seek professional advice for personal problems

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