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You can't charge your employee with insubordination in these four instances

by , 12 August 2014
Insubordination is when an employee fails to obey a direct and specific order.

Most employers make the mistake of charging employees with insubordination even when it's not warranted. As a result they don't discipline employees correctly and end up at the CCMA.

Don't let this happen to you.

Read on to discover the four instances when you can't charge an employee with insubordination so you can discipline your employees correctly and avoid a CCMA case.


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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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Revealed: Four instances when you can't charge an employee with insubordination


The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says you may not charge your employee with refusing to follow your instruction if:

#1: Your instruction is unlawful, immoral, contrary to public interest, e.g. instruction to commit a crime.

#2: Your instruction:
 

  • Jeopardises health and safety;
  • Is part of on-going harassment or victimisation of the employee;
  • Deliberately intends to humiliate the employee; and
  • Directly contradicts an earlier instruction or is otherwise unreasonable.


For example, instructing an air-conditioner technician to clean toilets as punishment for a minor infringement of the dress code.

#3: Your instruction is completely unrelated to his job description. For example, you can't tell your painter to do your laundry by hand.

#4: Your employee's refusal was unintentional. In other words, it wasn't a wilful refusal but a misunderstanding of the instruction.

For example, you instruct Tom (your company driver) to fetch Pamela from the airport at 7:15. Tom understood the instruction to mean 7:15 the next morning not 7:15 that night and Pamela was stranded at the airport.

There you have it. Never charge your employee with insubordination in these four instances we've mentioned above. If you cross this line, you may find yourself at the CCMA.


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