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Insubordination in Virginia

We have a manager at one of our Virginia branches that claims that an employee is in constant insubordination of him. What is insubordination, legally, and what are the legal obligations here?

There is no Virginia law or statute (or national law or statute) that explicitly states what insubordination is or how to go about addressing it. As such, there are no real legal guidelines that you can follow or turn to in this situation. There are best practices and precedents that can, of course, help you as you develop your systems though.

In general, insubordination is a situation in which an employee that is a subordinate to a manager or other supervisor, refuses to comply with the supervisor’s request. Keep in mind that the manager has to specifically state what needs to be done or what is expected of the employee in order for insubordination to occur. If an employee simply doesn’t understand or if the request has not been stated clearly enough, then the employee may not be in insubordination as much as simply not understanding.

In order to determine that an employee has been insubordinate, you need to first determine that he or she understands what the superior is asking of him or her. The request must also be in line with the job requirements that the employee agreed to when he or she accepted the position. Finally, the employee must also not have a good reason for violating the employer and the request must be entirely legal and ethical. For example, a superior cannot ask an employee to steal business secrets from another company or associate and cry insubordination if the employee refuses to comply.

When addressing an employee that could be in violation of the company’s insubordination policy, it is important that all of these three conditions are met. Also, bear in mind that many employees will be insubordinate for religious purposes, so be sure that your manager is not demanding something of the employee that he or she can simply not give out of personal viewpoint or religious affiliation.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 4th, 2007 at 10:22 am and is filed under
Attendance Management, Human Resources Management, Labor Laws, Management / Leadership Development, Performance Management, Workplace Management.
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