Employee Discipline Forms for Insubordination


Employee discipline forms for insubordination 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.

Insubordination is when an employee willfully refuses to follow the instructions of their supervisor or upper management. The only time an employee is permitted to disobey instructions from their supervisor is when the instruction is unsafe, immoral, illegal, or they have not been properly trained to perform their instructions. Immoral is sometimes a little hard to define but an example would be not telling the truth. For instance if your supervisor instructs you to tell upper management a lie to cover for them. Another example would be to treat a customer differently because they didn't their supervisor didn't like them. 

Disrespect on the other hand can be pretty clear. Any time an employee says or does something, such as, yelling, using fowl language, hand gestures, inappropriate jokes, or other things directed at their supervisor. 

In either case, whether insubordination or disrespect it is important to take action when necessary if an employees behavior violates either of these. But it must be measured and the facts must be evident.


employee discipline form for insubordination

Employee Discipline Forms for Insubordination Should Include Type of discipline:

Items that should appear on the disciplinary form:

* 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 for insubordination come in all styles and types and provided they have these elements and you use them it works.

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.


Insubordination Loser Small

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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