Active and passive disobedience, willful failure to obey orders and instructions, and disagreements that escalate into confrontations are all examples of workplace insubordination. The use of contemptuous or abrasive language is often misinterpreted as insubordination, but it may be better categorized as insolence.
Many employers have guidelines for what behaviors constitute insubordination, as well as policies that prohibit specific acts or outline disciplinary action. Extreme examples of insubordination often warrant immediate termination. In certain situations, the Occupational Health and Humans Services Administration may act to protect workers who fail to comply with instructions that could compromise personal or environmental safety.