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What is the difference between insubordination and insolence?

by , 06 August 2015
Do you have employees who simply refuse to obey orders? As we all know, obedient employees are the cornerstone of any successful business, and insubordinate employees can be an absolute nightmare to any employer. But, when is an employee 'insubordinate' vs 'insolent'?

What is insubordination?

According to Labour and HR Club, insubordination is 'when an employee fails to obey a direct and specific order.'
 
What is insolence? 

Insolence, on the other hand, has to do with 'offensive' and 'disrespectful' conduct.

Can you dismiss an employee for insolence?

Insolence is considered to be a less serious offense than insubordination. Therefore, insolence can only really be met with dismissal if it persists – in other words, it continues over a period of time. 

To learn more about the difference between insubordination and insolence, click here.
 

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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!
 
 
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Can you dismiss an insubordinate employee?
 
You, as the employer, are entitled to do so. But only if the nature of the refusal to carry out a reasonable and lawful instruction is deemed serious enough.
 
The two terms seem to overlap. What now?
 
Our Labour and HR Club point out that, while the two terms can overlap, it is important to separate them, in your disciplinary code, when disciplining an employee for a specific reason.
 
So, disrespectful, rude or 'cheeky' behaviour would fall under insolence and failure to obey an instruction would be insubordination.
Click here to find out so much more and never be in the dark again when it comes to these very important terms. 

 
 

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