Insubordination In The Workplace: Can You Be Terminated?

Insubordination In The Workplace: Can You Be Terminated?

Sometimes, employers and employees just cannot get along. In some cases, employees and employers will learn to work together anyway, ignoring potential problems that might arise. Other times, people will not be able to work together, and an employee may choose to refuse to work or mock their employer. The relationship may deteriorate so much that the employer may fire the employee due to their insubordination.

If an employer does choose to fire their employee due to insubordination, they may choose to fire their employee with cause. Firing an employee for just cause is very different than firing an employee without cause. 

This article will tell you about what insubordination in the workplace looks like, and how it could potentially lead to an employee being terminated with just cause.

Insubordination Meaning

Workplace insubordination can come in many forms. A typical example of insubordination or misconduct involves the refusal by an employee to follow an order given by their superior. The order given needs to be reasonable and within the law, and the employee needs to have deliberately and intentionally chosen not to follow it. The employer cannot claim insubordination just be because the employee did not understand the instructions or did not receive the message.

Insubordination can also include the use of mocking or insulting language towards superiors in the workplace, or the mocking of decisions that superiors have made. 

Some examples of insubordination in the workplace might include:

  • An employee refusing to complete a task, despite being capable of doing so and understanding how it should be done.
  • An employee mocking an employer after a meeting.
  • An employee failing to come into work and refusing to come in when called upon.
  • An employee leaving their shift and refusing to return.

Insubordination might not include:

  • An employee not doing a task that they were not assigned or that was not part of their job description.
  • An employee does not do a task because it is unsafe, unethical, illegal, or goes against their religion or beliefs.
  • An employee not doing a task because it goes against societal norms of acceptability.
  • An employee not accepting a change in their rate of pay.
  • An employee completes a task incorrectly because they did not understand the instructions.

Insubordination: Is It Grounds For Termination With Cause?

In most cases, when an employee is fired, they will be terminated without cause and provided a termination package that accounts for their age, service time, role, and other factors. A without cause dismissal can occur for a number of reasons, and those reasons can include the employer’s need to restructure the business, or the employer’s need to fire the employee because they were not the right fit. Employees who are not unionized can be terminated at any time without cause, so an employer can decide to do just that, so long as they give them proper notice or payment in lieu of notice.

In other cases, such as employee  insubordination, the employee may be fired with just cause. 

Facing Insubordination in the Workplace? Speak with an Employment Lawyer at Achkar Law

Insubordination can disrupt workplace harmony and challenge authority, making it crucial to handle such situations appropriately. If you’re an employer dealing with insubordination or an employee accused of such actions, consulting with an experienced employment lawyer is essential. Achkar Law can provide legal guidance to ensure that these matters are addressed fairly and in accordance with employment law, safeguarding both company culture and individual rights.

Firing an employee with just cause means that the employee does not receive proper notice or payment in lieu of notice once dismissed, and they can immediately be terminated from their position without receiving any further payment, save for any regular payment that they have earned.

Insubordination: What Proof is Required?

Terminating someone with just cause is more difficult than terminating someone without cause. The accusation of cause must have merit, must be severe, must directly affect the workplace and the employer, and otherwise cause harm to the workplace environment. An employer does not need to prove that the behaviour of the employee was done deliberately. 

Terminating an employee with just cause has a very high threshold, and employers should be wary of this before going ahead with the action.

Terminated for Insubordination: What Are Your Options?

Terminated for Insubordination: What Are Your Options?

Insubordination is a serious matter in the workplace, and it can lead to the termination of your employment. If you find yourself in this challenging situation, it’s essential to understand your options and rights. While your employer has the authority to maintain discipline and order in the workplace, your rights as an employee are equally important.

Review the Circumstances: First and foremost, take a close look at the circumstances surrounding your termination. Was the directive you supposedly refused reasonable and lawful? Did you have a legitimate reason for your actions? Understanding the details is crucial.

Consult an Employment Lawyer: If you believe your termination for insubordination was unjust or that your rights have been violated, consulting an employment lawyer is a wise step. They can provide legal guidance and assess the situation to determine if you have a case.

Negotiation and Mediation: In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the situation through negotiation or mediation with your employer. These methods can lead to an agreement that allows you to return to work or reach a settlement.

Legal Action: If all other avenues fail, pursuing legal action may be necessary to protect your rights. This could involve filing a complaint with the appropriate employment authority or taking your case to court.

Remember that employment law can be complex, and the outcome of insubordination cases varies depending on the specific details. Seeking legal advice is the best way to ensure you make informed decisions.

In Conclusion

Insubordination is a complex issue that can lead to job termination. To navigate this challenge, assess the circumstances, consult an employment lawyer for guidance, and consider negotiation or mediation with your employer. If all else fails, legal action may be necessary. Remember, employment law can be intricate, and outcomes vary, so seeking legal advice is vital for informed decisions. Your rights as an employee are essential, and protecting them is key.

Further Reading

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Facing Challenges with Insubordination? Get Legal Guidance from Achkar Law

Insubordination can disrupt workplace harmony and challenge management authority. If you are considering terminating an employee due to insubordination, it’s crucial to approach the situation with sound legal backing. Achkar Law provides professional advice to ensure that your actions are compliant with employment laws, minimizing potential legal risks. Let us help you handle this delicate situation with the utmost care and legality.