What To Do If Your Boss Accuses You Of Insubordination?


It is standard practice for employees to follow their bosses’ instructions at work. Additionally, they need to respect one another, especially their superiors and influential individuals. The refusal to follow instructions, making fun of the superior and other actions undermining a manager’s authority are all examples of insubordination. Let us know what to do if your boss accuses you of insubordination, keep on reading to know all the information and solution for this.

What To Do If Your Boss Accuses You Of Insubordination?

Boss accuses you of insubordination

Insubordination claims are a topic of interest in employment law. For example, suppose an employee feels that their boss accuses mistakenly, and it is being used to discriminate against them or was the reason for their wrongful termination. In that case, they may discuss their concerns with their supervisor and other senior members of the business. But first, let’s look at how to deal with allegations of insubordination at work in great detail. The following will give you what to do if your boss accuses you of insubordination.

Dealing with allegations of insubordination at work

When dealing with allegations of insubordination at work, you mustn’t contribute to the toxic workplace climate brought on by dissatisfaction, sniping, and undermining the boss when defending oneself against false charges at work. You must maintain your composure and assist with any subsequent HR inquiry, which may take some time. Then, you’ll be able to calm down and get a more impartial viewpoint.

Respond to the investigator’s questions and be ready to offer crucial details that your accuser’s interview may have overlooked. Keep the truth in mind, and be prepared with notes so you don’t forget anything.

What exactly constitutes workplace insubordination?

The most common instance of workplace insubordination is simple: the manager instructs a subordinate and the worker rejects. That is disobedience. This frequently occurs for a variety of reasons, including outright disobedience, forgetfulness, irrational manager expectations, and outright laziness. No one considers it insubordination if a boss instructs an employee to do just 35 of the 47 duties for the day.

According to the Society for Human Resources Management, insubordination often needs three elements to occur:

  • The command comes from the employer.
  • The worker accepts the order.
  • The worker declines to execute the directive.

But in reality, it’s usually an extreme circumstance when a boss reprimands someone for disobedience. For instance, an employee who shouts his disobedience of orders in front of a client is much more likely to receive a written warning or other kind of disciplinary action for insubordination than one who silently complies with his wishes.

Reasons for dismissal due to insubordination

The following three factors must be present for insubordinate behavior to occur:

1. The directive or demand is clear and legitimate.

2. Someone in a position of power gave the order.

3. You purposefully ignored the directive.

Examples of conduct that might result in dismissal for insubordination

  • You ignored a specific directive to do work that was necessary for you to perform your obligations.
  • Your absence from work was unapproved.
  • If you were a paid employee or when the company offered overtime pay, you chose not to continue working.
  • You were not legally exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination and you did not provide your assent.
  • Your unpleasant and disrespectful behavior toward your boss made it plain that you wanted to question their authority.

What to do if your boss accuses you of insubordination?

Recognize “protected conduct” as defined by EEO regulations.

State and federal employment legislation as well as organizational regulations both apply to accusations of insubordination. You can contest the allegation and elevate the situation to higher senior management if you believe you have been falsely accused of insubordination or that the accusation is being used to justify wrongful termination due to discrimination.

Under the “protected activity” category of federal legislation, you can submit a formal complaint and make your rights known. Your boss can’t take adverse action against you and accuse you of being disobedient in the following cases;

  • Being a party or witness to an equal opportunity investigative process, complaint, or lawsuit; 
  • Attempting to speak with your supervisor about an ongoing case of employment discrimination or harassment; 
  • Responding to inquiries made by the government while your employer is being investigated for alleged harassment;
  • Interfering with or rebuffing inappropriate sexual advances on the job; and demanding that your needs be lawfully accommodated.

To protest retribution, you could file a claim for job discrimination

Retaliation happens “when an employer takes a significantly unfavorable action because an applicant or employee asserts rights protected under EEO legislation,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Before any of the aforementioned “protected behavior” may take place, there may be retribution. When the company’s employment policy unlawfully prevents you from using your EEO rights that is when it occurs.

You must have proof that the retaliation took place while you were engaging in legally protected behavior in order to establish that your employer acted in retaliation against you. You must demonstrate that the employer’s unfavorable conduct was motivated by retaliation.

You might launch a lawsuit for slander

 If you are unfairly accused of disobedience, defamation is another legal option. A false remark that hurts your reputation is referred to in law as defamation. Libel is a term used to describe a remark that is written. Lies spread orally constitute slander.

It is challenging to establish any type of defamation in court. You must demonstrate that:

  • The claim was untrue.
  • Your employer’s comment was not an evident opinion but a deceptive statement portrayed as truth. 
  • Your boss made the statement with the purpose to harm your reputation.

Keep your cool and collected

Employees are often given written notice of the allegations brought against them. Remain composed if you get a letter outlining your accusation of insubordination and the consequences of your actions. Avoid arguing with the supervisor who sent the letter or bringing up the letter with your coworkers.

Write a letter of Rebuttal

If you believe the accusation was unfounded, you should address your concerns in a reply letter. Explain the situation in detail in your letter, being sure to address any misunderstandings or false statements that were made in the initial letter.

A justification for your behavior, such as the fact that you took action to prevent harm to yourself or a colleague or because you believed the order to be unethical, should be followed by any supporting documentation, such as the statements of your coworkers or documentation of the circumstances that led you to act as you did.

Keep a copy of this letter for your records, and ask that a copy be added to the original insubordination letter’s file in your employee file.

Determine the charge’s nature and make the appropriate response.

You don’t have a defense if it is obvious that your behavior was improper or unprofessional, thus the accusation of insubordination stands.

However, if the charge was made as a result of your lawful involvement in a protected activity or as a result of a reasonable response to danger, a moral dilemma, or a situation at work that prevented you from performing your duties, you may respond with a rebuttal letter.

In your reply letter, you have the opportunity to “clean your name” with your employer and clear up any confusion regarding the circumstances. Additionally, it could stop the charge from ever being used against you.


The best course of action if your supervisor or a coworker wrongly accuses you of insubordination is to address them directly. However, you must remain composed and be sincere with yourself. It’s possible that you’re mistaken and need to move on. If you are wrongly accused of insubordination, cooperate with the investigators, but be ready with proof of the facts that will help you prove your innocence. It is essential to know what constitutes insubordination if your employment is being terminated as a result of it. If you can demonstrate that your employer made a deliberate false remark that hurt your reputation, you also have the option of bringing a defamation lawsuit. Hope this article helped you with what to do if your boss accuses you of insubordination.

Commonly asked questions

1.What does being an insubordinate entail at work?

Insubordination often calls for three things. 

1) The boss issues the directive

 2) The employee recognizes the directive; 

3) The employee objected to the directive.

2.How do you handle a disobedient employee?

Setting clear limits, listening to your staff when they disagree, and abiding by all legal and ethical requirements are all effective preventative measures. If subordination does arise, it is better to recognize it right away, set limits, record it, and be fair.

3.What exactly is submissive behavior?

Subordinate behavior can take many different forms, including covert sabotage, avoidance tactics, or going completely against the manager’s directions.

What To Do If Your Boss Accuses You Of Insubordination?

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