Preparing a written warning letter for insubordination is no different than any other disciplinary action!

However, one of the major mistakes that many supervisors make is mistaking insubordination with disrespectful behavior.

In short, insubordination is defying authority or in opposition to it. Although it is easy to confuse the two it is still important to define the poor behavior correctly.

As an example, if an employee is directed to perform a task by their supervisor and refuses to do it, this would be considered insubordination. On the other hand, if the employee is directed to perform a task and openly complains or makes an uncalled for comment about doing it, this may be considered disrespectful.

There are other things to consider also before moving forward with a written warning letter for insubordination. There may be underlying reasons why an individual is refusing to perform a task that a supervisor directed them to perform.

As an example if the employee is under the belief, in good faith, that the task is unsafe. The employee may also refuse to do the task if they have not been trained properly. This may include a long period between when they were trained and when you are asking them to perform it.

The point to all of this is to make sure you are approaching this from all angles. Never make assumptions!

Another important aspect is to make sure you do your fact finding which should include any potential witnesses. Now when it comes to witnesses it is important not to randomly interview employees hoping for information. Be selective in who you interview so that you are not creating a bigger issue with rumor control. Employees can become very intimidated when a member of management is interviewing them no matter what the reasons. When you interview someone it is very important to have them make a written statement and then sign and date it. This becomes very important if your employee takes this to a legal proceeding.

The elements of a written warning letter for insubordination are;

Clearly explain the violation in the first sentence: This written warning letter is being issued to you for violating our company policy on insubordination.

Second would be to provide the specifics of the violation: Specifically, on June 3, 2011, at approximately 3:10 pm your supervisor directed you to.... and you refused.

Also you would want to include any policies or training that covered your policy on insubordination that the employee attended or received.

Clearly define the correct procedure to follow if the employee has any questions in the future about performing a task that their supervisor directs them to do.

Finally, clearly define the consequences of violating any policies in the future.

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