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How Should I Respond to an Insubordination Claim?

In a workplace setting, employees are expected to follow their supervisors’ orders. They are also expected to treat each other with respect, especially supervisors and others who are in positions of authority. Refusing to follow an order, mocking a supervisor, and other actions that undermine a supervisor’s authority are all acts of insubordination.

Issues surrounding insubordination charges are part of employment law. When an employee feels that he or she was charged with insubordination inappropriately or that the charge is being used as a form of discrimination or justification for his or her wrongful termination, the employee may challenge the charge with the supervisor and more senior members of the company.

Remain Calm and Collected

In most cases, employees are informed of the charges made about their behavior in writing. If you receive a letter detailing your insubordination charge and the repercussions you will face for your behavior, remain calm. Refrain from becoming confrontational with the supervisor who issued the letter or discussing the letter with your coworkers.

Determine the Nature of the Charge and Respond Appropriately

If you clearly behaved in an inappropriate or unprofessional manner, you do not have grounds to refute the insubordination charge. However, if your charge came after your lawful engagement in a protected activity or your justifiable response to danger, an ethical dilemma, or an issue in the office that prevented you from performing your work, you can respond to the charge with a rebuttal letter.

Your rebuttal letter is your opportunity to clear up any confusion surrounding the incident and “clear your name” with your employer. It can also prevent the charge from being used against you in the future.

Write a Rebuttal Letter

If you feel the charge was in error, write a rebuttal letter to explain why you feel that way. In your letter, clearly outline the incident as it happened, correcting any misconceptions or misrepresentations made in the original letter. Follow this with either an explanation of why you behaved the way you did – perhaps you acted to avoid putting yourself or a colleague at risk of injury or you felt an order was unethical – and any evidence you have to support your position, such as colleagues’ testimonies or documentation of the environmental factors that forced you to take the action you took.

Keep a copy of this letter for your personal record and request that a copy be kept in your employee file alongside the original insubordination letter.

Work with an Experienced La Crosse Employment Lawyer

When you decide to challenge an insubordination charge, do so with the support of an experienced employment lawyer. Your lawyer can help you determine the right legal avenue for challenging the charge and help you support any claim you make regarding it, such as a wrongful termination claim. Contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to schedule your initial legal consultation with us to discuss your case in greater detail.

Published March 20, 2018
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