Employee Discipline Forms for Insubordination



Employee discipline forms are designed to save you time, but they must include all the necessary questions or you can still be in jeopardy if a disgruntled employee takes legal action against you. Insubordination is one of those employee behaviors that can get confused with disrespect; however, in the end whether you call it disrespect of insubordination it really doesn’t matter provided you document it correctly.















Type of discipline - Counseling, Written Warning, 2nd Written Warning, Reprimand, Admonishment, Suspension, Termination

List any previous disciplinary action

The reason for this disciplinary action

Briefly describe the facts and the facts only – no emotion such as “I believe” or “I Feel”

Describe what the correct behavior should be

Describe what the consequences of future poor behavior will be

If you wish you can allow an employee to make comments but this is not required

Signatures of the person issuing the disciplinary action and the employee – If the employee refuses to sign the document have a witness sign it.


Employee discipline forms come in all styles and types and provided they have these elements and you use them it works.

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progressive discipline process


Complete the Open Blocks to Prepare an Employee Written Warning Notice



As we were discussing above insubordination can get confused with disrespect so let’s define what insubordination is. Insubordination is where an employee intentionally refuses to perform a task their supervisor directed them to do, of which they are trained and capable of performing. The only reason an employee can refuse to perform a task that their supervisor directed them to do is if they have not been trained, it is unsafe, or illegal. Therefore, let me strongly stress that you document any and all training you do in the workplace, especially when it comes to safety.

Let’s also discuss some more confusion about insubordination. As an example, if you ask an employee to make sure they perform a certain task today and at the end of the day the task was not performed it doesn’t necessarily translate into insubordination. In a situation like this there could be many reasons that it didn’t take place and it could be as simple as they just forgot. Forgetting is not insubordination. Remember in the definition we used the word “refusing”? As an example, if you ask the employee to make sure they perform a certain task today and they respond, “That is not my job and I am not going to do that”, and the task was not performed then it could easily fall into the category of insubordination.

In the second example above it is important to consider if the employee is trained and capable of performing the task. In that example the employee stated that it wasn’t their job, but provided they were trained and capable they should have performed the task and then filed their complaint/grievance.

Depending on the severity of the insubordination you may want to consider jumping from a simple counseling (which is considered to be the least form of disciplinary action) to even possible termination. In most cases insubordination happens in front of several staff members and they are all watching and waiting to see what happens next. Employee discipline is to correct behavior and that is exactly why we would consider a harsher penalty for this type of behavior. One strong recommendation would be to always be fair and consistent when issuing any type of employee discipline.

Another recommendation whether you’re using employee discipline forms or not is to have an employee handbook. An employee handbook is simply a collection of your employment policies, such as policies covering, attendance, sexual harassment, discrimination, stealing, misconduct, insubordination, disrespect, etc. There are plenty of inexpensive tools to help you accomplish this so don’t get fooled into using one that cost several hundred dollars when you can get a simple version for less than fifty. I have included a link to the one I use on this page.

Try out the employee discipline forms that I offer below. I hope you like them.

Thank you and May God bless you!


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