Written Warning For Insubordination



Issuing a written warning for insubordination is the right thing to do when an employee has refused to follow your direction. There is no question that insubordination is very frustrating for any supervisor to deal with. Every employee that has overheard, or is told about an employee testing their supervisor by being insubordinate is waiting to find out what will happen next. Therefore, doing nothing will create an atmosphere whereby employees will not take their supervisor seriously. On the other hand overreacting may have them taking the opposite view point in that they fear instead of respecting them. Both will have a negative effect on productivity.















Briefly the definition of insubordination is an employee who intentionally refuses to carry out a supervisor’s direction. The only exception to not carrying out that direction would be if the employee felt it was a safety risk to them or others, or it was illegal to do so.

One of the very first things that you should have in place in your business is an employee handbook outlining not only what your policy on insubordination is but all your other policies as well. Policies such as attendance, misconduct, disrespect, sexual harassment, discrimination, and your progressive discipline program policy. Progressive discipline simply means that an employee who violates a company policy will receive the least amount of discipline the first time. Then if they continue to violate any policy the severity of discipline increases to a point of finally being terminated.

When it comes to whether or not to issue a written warning for insubordination or terminating them it all depends on the severity of the insubordination. As I mentioned in the last paragraph progressive discipline is starting with the least amount of discipline; however, some violations merit passing the least amount of discipline directly to possible termination. Insubordination may be one of those violations. One way to determine whether they should be issued a written warning for insubordination or terminated is whether the employee completely crossed the line or not.

As an example of a situation that I would seriously consider terminating an employee versus issuing a written warning letter would be if they not only intentionally refused to carry out my direction but used offensive language in a threatening type way. On the other hand if the intentionally refused to carry out my direction, but didn’t raise their voice or use derogatory language.

When it comes to writing a written warning letter I strongly recommend using employee discipline forms. They will make your life so much easier than crafting an actual letter. I offer free downloadable employee discipline forms below.


Free Online Warning Form
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