Nagarkar Vinayak L
Hr And Employee Relations Consultant
Kritarth Consulting
Posh Programs; Hr Management Consultants
[email protected]
Retired Government Servant/advocate
Insolvency N Gst Professional

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Shyam started a new role with a new manager. He discovered that the health report was tampered. His own assessment of the machine was it was malfunctioning. Previous health reports were not to be found. He reported this to his manager who asked him to ignore the health report and complete transition from the outgoing employee. Shyam insisted that a valid health report was necessary for him to agree that the machine was healthy at the time he took over.

Twice, Shyam’s manager directed him to complete the transition but Shyam insisted on the health report. He did not want to provide a false health status of the machine and risk violating company policy.

Shyam and his manager continued to work together on a couple of maintenance tasks while the issue of health report remained unresolved.

3 months later, Shyam was charged with slow progress and ordered to work inder daily supervision for 1 month. This meeting had the branch head, HR in attendance. Shyam repeated the health report issue but it was not recorded in meeting summary. Shyam then emailed his issue so that there was a record of it. The daily supervision order was not implemented.

Two months passed with no progress on the health report issue. Shyam had not been assigned any new tasks and did a few small maintenance jobs.

He was then issued a notice for insubordination. The charge was that he had not followed the directive of his manager 5 months ago. Shyam’s response was rejected and he was terminated. The termination letter stated that his issue of health report was investigated but found unsubstantiated.

Is it to charge insubordination 5 months after the event? Won’t the fact that Shyam worked normally with his manager after the event invalidate the charge?

Is it valid that the investigation was delayed by 5 months from the time it was bought to the notice of his manger and 2 months from when it was notified to HR? Won’t this cause the investigation to be seen as biased with opportunity to tamper with evidence?

From India, Bengaluru
Initiating Disciplinaryy Action after Five months of occurence of so stated Act of Insubordination as mentioned in your post, is somewhat Retaliatory in nature. The Disciplining is put in a Fix. Try Some Conciliatory Counseling to dilute confrontation.
Harsh K Sharan, Kritarth Team

From India, Delhi
First of all the act of the employee does not show insubordination at all.
The whole act of termination appears to be vindictive in nature as per facts narrated.
Approach to a court of law will be useful for employee.

From India, Pune
Dear colleague,
Belated slapping of the charge of insubordination , without sufficient reasons, on the face of it appear motivated. On the top of it, no domestic enquiry appears to have been held prior to the issuing of termination which itself is illegal.
As a first step you raise a demand for reinstatement with continuity of service and back wages by suitably drafted letter containing all the facts and sequence of events.
If the company does not respond , approach Labour Commissioner's office for intervention.
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
@NAthRao -can u please elaborate on why it is not insubordination? I think that can be very useful in letter that is being planned to Head office. Any known cases would also be useful to reference. Apart from the insubordination charge itself, isn´t the investigation process too flawed -delaying by months? Plus the brainch head has silently ignored the health report issue which make even the soundness of investigation involving branch staff very debatable?
@Vinayak Nagarkar: I just skipped over the enquiry bit to shorten the story. But given the branch head has remained silent on the health report, it seems the enquiry could easily have been compromised

From India, Bengaluru
Dear colleague,
I share the same view as that of Mr Natharao's. Prima facie it is unlikely it will amout to insubordination as the order from the superior has to be bonafide and reasonable. In not acting on the same, you have larger interest of the organization in mind. Anyway it is a matter of details and proving it at the enquiry stage if it was held .
It is not clear whether the enquiry was conducted at all and if yes, whether you were given fair and reasonable opportunity to defend your case as per law.
Vinayak Nagarkar
HR and Employee Relations Consultant

From India, Mumbai
In the given facts, there is no question of insubordination: the word itself inappropriate in the context of discipline. Discipline inheres only obedience to lawful instructions.
From India, Kochi
@Vinayak Nagarakar, @PVenu1953: Given that the eqnuiry has found no issue with the health report or health of the machine, the order of the manager seems valid in retrospect. But obviously the investigation happened after 5 months, so how to address that? Unless the delay in framing charges and investigation are illegal those orders will seem validated and bona fide. Or is there a different interpretation?
From India, Bengaluru
Having given the Notice and the employed not accepted the allegation, a fact finding inquiry, in accordance with the principles of natural justice, ought to have been held. It is not lawful that termination order was issued based on the unilateral finding and conclusion of the management.
From India, Kochi
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