Insubordination in the workplace

Chadd, Kevin Mark (1999) Insubordination in the workplace. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis traces the development of insubordination in the employment relationship. The essence of the relationship is that the employee, by contracting out his or her productive capacity, occupies a subordinate position. The primary aim is to locate and define the nature of subordination and to investigate how the breach of this position would justify dismissal as interpreted and applied by the courts. This is achieved by investigating dismissal for insubordination under the common law contract of employment, the unfair labour practice jurisdiction and the 1995 Labour Relations Act. Initially the obligation of the employee to be subordinate, an essential term of the contract of employment, is located and defined by using the tests of Control, Organisation and Dominant Impression, which theoretically indicate the true nature of insubordination. Insubordination under the common law is equated with disobedience to the lawful and reasonable instructions of the employer which were given in good faith and fell squarely within the contractual relationship. Insubordination under the unfair labour practice jurisdiction was equated with a challenge to the authority of the employer of which disobedience was a manifestation of such intention. Instructions given by the employer under the unfair labour practice jurisdiction had to be lawful, reasonable and fair. What was fair depended on the surrounding circumstances of the dismissal and a wilful and unreasonable refusal of the employee to obey the valid instructions of the employer justified dismissal Under the 1995 Labour Relations Act it is submitted that insubordination will be dealt with in essentially the same manner as under the previous jurisdiction, subject to the Act's objectives and purposes. The disobedience of the employee is to be tolerated if that employee is attempting to achieve the Act's objectives, and any dismissal as a result of the disobedience could be unfair, because the employer's conduct fiustrates the purpose of the Act. Therefore, the contractual right of the employer to expect subordination from the employee may have been whittled away to such an extent over time that it seems superficial to regard subordination as an essential term of the contract of employment.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Insubordination, Employees, Dismissal, Contract, Labour law, Labour legislation, Unfair labour practice, South Africa
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KT Asia and Eurasia, Africa, Pacific Aria, and Antarctica > Africa > South Africa, Republic of
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Law
Supervisors:Grogan, John
ID Code:2866
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:30 May 2012 08:23
Last Modified:30 May 2012 08:23
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