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Insubordination is in the eye of the employer

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in Firing,Human Resources

Think an employee is acting disrespectfully? Firing him for insubordination will probably stick.

Recent case: William, who was over age 50, was hired as an assistant public defender after not being selected to run the office. He was hired with the understanding that he would have to try death penalty cases, but he turned down the first such assignment. He was then called into a meeting to discuss his overall performance. During that meeting, he sharply criticized his boss in a tone and manner that several others attending the meeting found insubordinate. He was fired.

William sued, alleging age discrimination and that he had not been insubordinate. The court refused to intervene, concluding that the employer had the right to define insubordination. It dismissed the case. (Sandusky v. Adams County, No. 1:13-CV-2517, MD PA, 2015)

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