Insubordination Law and Legal Definition

Insubordination is generally defined as a willful or intentional failure to obey a lawful and reasonable request of a supervisor. It may also be an action which constitutes lack of respect or harassment directed toward a supervisor.

The elements of insubordination generally are:

1. A direct order was issued to an employee.
2. The employee received and understood the order.
3. The employee refused to obey the order through an explicit statement of refusal or through nonperformance.

In the case of abusive language toward a supervisor, insubordination may not be found if:

1. It was provoked by the supervisor
2. It was not spoken in the presence of other employees or customers
3. It was an example of shop talk in the workplace