Reprimanding an Employee for Insubordination

What is a reprimand letter?

A letter of reprimand to an employee for insubordination is a letter that is written by an employer, or by someone on behalf of the employer and is addressed to the employee, who has exhibited a non-professional attitude and act/s of insubordination. This letter is similar to a warning letter, but the tone of it is stricter than the latter, as reprimand involves scolding and disapproving the employee’s insubordination.

Insubordination involves disobeying the orders of the supervisors or managers by the subordinate. The employee is showing insubordination if the employee refuses to obey the orders or abide by them, and the orders are:

  • legal.
  • company-permitted,
  • morally correct
  • Ethical.

This term is not synonymous with misconduct, abusiveness, or other sorts of unprofessional behavior, as it mainly involves violating and disobeying orders. However, other sorts of behavior may be shown simultaneously by the employee as well, when being engaged in acts of insubordination.

Insubordination may reduce work output…

When an employee exhibits insubordination, the employer may have to suffer in terms of money, customers, discipline, work environment, etc. Companies are not willing to bear any sort of losses due to an irresponsible employee, who is not following the orders properly. Usually, organizations have strict policies against such behavior.

If the matter under consideration is extremely critical, the company might directly issue a termination letter to the employee. However, due to the contractual terms and legal requirements, the company first issues a letter of reprimand to the employee for insubordination, which provides a chance to the employee for correction as well.

The details and length of this letter may differ, depending on how critical the issue is as well as the company policies regarding insubordination. Nevertheless, it is important to vividly mention the insubordination incidences or acts as well as the company policies regarding insubordination. However, the general details included in the template of such letters are:

  • Date.
  • Details of the employee.
  • Details of the employer.
  • The issue and incidences of insubordination.
  • Reprimand and warning.
  • Effects on the company.
  • Reference of the company policies.
  • Any attached documents.
  • Consequences in case of continued insubordination.
  • Show hope of improvement and betterment.
  • Salutation and signature.

As insubordination is intolerable to a company, it takes immediate action and issues a letter of reprimand, which is quite stern. After the letter, the company’s next step is usually harsh. Therefore, the employee, who is being irresponsible, rectifies his behavior after this letter.

Sample Letter




Dear Mr. Johnathan,

It has been observed that you have been engaged in constant insubordination for the past few months, especially after your promotion. Your elevation does not give you the authority to encroach on your supervisor’s orders.

You have been refusing to obey the orders and guidelines given to you, and as an employee of ABC for the past six years, you clearly are aware of the consequences of such insubordination. The company has suffered in terms of customer satisfaction because of your inappropriate attitude. We cannot afford to lose money or our customers. We have given you enough chances for explaining your behavior, and your lame excuses have not sufficed. We have also attached a few of the evidence we have of your disapproval of your superiors’ orders.

This is your last chance to put an end to all sorts of insubordination. Otherwise, the company will be forced to take a drastic step of your termination immediately after the observance of any act of insubordination on your part.

We hope to see an improved behavior.


Steven Smith.

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