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Employee miffed about your decision? That’s no reason to tolerate insubordination

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in Employment Law,Firing,Management Training

Employees tend to get angry if management dismisses or turns a blind eye to some perceived injustice. That anger may manifest itself in many ways, including refusing to cooperate with reasonable requests.

You don’t have to put up with that passive-aggressive behavior. You can and should discipline the employee the same way you would any other insubordinate employee.

Recent case: Energy Enterprise Solutions employee Assam Ali complained that he was being paid less than others with the same job classification. The company told him the other employees made slightly more than he did because they either had more experience when they were hired or had greater educational qualifications.

Energy Enterprise Solutions was reorganizing and decided to find new positions for some employees. This decision was unrelated to Ali’s complaints.

But Ali refused to cooperate with a request for an updated résumé. Because he didn’t provide one, the company couldn’t find him a new position. Instead, it terminated him for refusing to cooperate with the request.

Ali sued, alleging both pay discrimination and retaliation.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals tossed the pay claim, ruling that the company had legitimate reasons for the small pay differences. Next, it dismissed Ali’s retaliation claim, reasoning that his refusal to provide an updated résumé was a good enough business reason for not placing him in a new job and then firing him. (Ali v. Energy Enterprise Solutions, No. 10-1700, 4th Cir., 2011)

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