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Can I Be Dismissed For Insubordination? Learn About What The Canadian Law Says

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Trying to find a one-size-fits-all answer for whether you can be fired for insubordination can be a fool’s errand. Just like office interaction can range from cordial to hostile – and everything in between – instances of insubordination can be similarly varied and subjective. Instead, let’s try and answer questions of insubordination with what we do know.

If you feel you have been wrongfully or unjustly dismissed, get in touch with an experienced employment lawyer Toronto.

What is insubordination

Insubordination is generally regarded to mean an act of wilful disobedience of lawful instructions given by a superior. An important aspect of this is that these instructions are conditions important to the duties you have to perform.

There are degrees of insubordination – calm but firm refusal to follow instructions, verbal altercations and violent outbursts. Depending on the manner in which you conduct yourself, the reason for your insubordination and subject at hand, all have to be considered.

There will also be instances where employers act illegally and dismiss employees for insubordination either without following the proper disciplinary procedure laid down by the law; or by using falsehood and pretexts to terminate employment. It is essential you get in touch with Soni Law’s employment lawyers Toronto.

How have you been insubordinate

Therefore, the question more pertinent than ‘can I be fired for insubordination’ is ‘have I been insubordinate?’ Have your working conditions changed such that the normal performance of your duties has made you insubordinate? Or has your employer chosen to selectively focus on isolated, out of context incidents to dismiss you?

If you feel you have been wrongfully dismissed on the pretext of insubordination, call Soni Law Firm immediately. Our employment lawyers Toronto are knowledgeable and offer mature advice. We represent clients before adjudicatory boards and courts. Our team deals with wrongful dismissal arising out of insubordination and can guide you in practical and mature terms.

Can I be dismissed for a single instance of insubordination

The Canada Labour Code is very clear: be progressive in your disciplining. Other than instances of gross conduct, employers have a duty to follow progressive disciplining, giving an employee the chance to correct their behavior. Typically, these will be verbal warnings, written warnings, finally followed by suspension. Employment contracts can, and do, diverge significantly from these, and make sure you understand how your employer will proceed when dealing with cases of insubordination.

Disciplinary proceedings

An employer must start off by giving verbal warnings about the conduct of an employee. These should be clear about the conduct that has been considered insubordinate. They should also say what corrective actions should be taken. Also, this verbal warning should be highlighted as the first in a formal disciplinary procedure.

A written notice is issued to the employee after a failure to acknowledge or improve his or her behavior after the verbal warning and their insubordinate behavior have continued despite this.

As a final disciplinary step, the employee can be placed on suspension. This is a severe step and both employer and employee know that dismissal is the next likely course of action if insubordination doesn’t stop.

Do I have protection from unjust dismissal?

If you have been at your place of work, for 12 or more consecutive months, you are protected from unjust dismissal. Though, that does not mean you cannot be fired for insubordination. Get in touch with a lawyer at Soni Law Firm to understand your rights.

Filing a Complaint

An employee can file a complaint alleging unjust dismissal for insubordination with the Labour Program. It is the government body responsible for protecting the rights of employees and employers. The Labour Program will appoint an adjudicator to resolve the dispute. You can appeal to its result. Know that legal counsel will likely represent your employer at these proceedings.

Trusted Employment Lawyer Toronto

Soni Law Firm is a respected Toronto employment and labour law firm. We have represented hundreds of clients in all types of wrongful dismissal claims, including insubordination. Contact us if you have been wrongfully and unjustly removed from our employment.

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About Post Author


Rahul founded Soni Law Firm, a boutique employment, labour, and human rights law firm, with the goal of taking his Downtown Toronto litigation experience and making it accessible to Ontario’s Main Street employees and employers.