Insubordination is typically a punishable offense in hierarchical organizations which depend on people lower in the chain of command to do as they are told.
There have been a number of court cases in the United States which have involved charges of insubordination from the employer with counter charges of infringement of First Amendment rights from the employee. A number of these cases have reached the U.S. Supreme Court usually involving a conflict between an institution of higher education and a faculty member.
In the modern workplace in the Western world, hierarchical power relationships are usually sufficiently internalized so that the issue of formal charges of insubordination are rare. In his book, Disciplined Minds, American physicist and writer Jeff Schmidt points out that professionals are trusted to run organisations in the interests of their employers. Because employers cannot be on hand to manage every decision, professionals are trained to “ensure that each and every detail of their work favours the right interests – or skewers the disfavoured ones” in the absence of overt control.
There have been a number of famous and infamous people who have committed insubordination or publicly objected to an organizational practice.