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Not sure how to discipline an employee for insubordination? Mike's story will help you out

by , 01 September 2014
Let's say, it's Monday morning. You ask one of your employees, Mike, to go fetch Vera, your receptionist because her car has broken down and she needs to come to the office to complete the books for month end. Mike replies by saying: 'I actually don't have time to go and fetch her as I have my own work to do.'

You then tell him to go fetch Vera because it's more urgent as she must complete the books. Mike tells you he'll see if he has time later to fetch her and continues to do his work. And he forgets to fetch Vera like you told him to.

This is a perfect example of employee insubordination. Would you know what to do in this situation?

If you're not sure how to how to discipline an employee for insubordination, here's what you must do so you don't find yourself at the CCMA.


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Know the difference between insubordination, gross insubordination and insolence
 
There's a fine line between insubordination, gross insubordination and insolence of an employee. Do you know the difference? How would you discipline an employee in each instance? If you get it wrong you could lose at the CCMA!
 
Find out how to discipline in each case so it doesn't land up costing you!

 
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Here's how to discipline an employee for insubordination


If we use the above example, asking Mike to fetch Vera is reasonable and lawful and doesn't fall far outside his job description.

Because he didn't carry out your instruction, you can discipline him by giving him a written warning.

It'll remind him that he's your subordinate and must carry out reasonable instructions you give him.

In terms of labour law, your employee has a duty to listen to your instructions and if he doesn't accept your authority or carry out reasonable, legal instructions, he's going against his basic employee duties.

The reason you can't dismiss him is because insubordination is a lesser offence compared to gross insubordination.

There you have it: Now that you know how to discipline an employee for insubordination, do it the right way so you don't find yourself at the CCMA.

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