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Monday, May 05, 2014

Computer help desk specialist found guilty of insubordination after ignoring supervisor’s instructions not to answer phone calls with a “robotic voice”


Computer help desk specialist found guilty of insubordination after ignoring supervisor’s instructions not to answer phone calls with a “robotic voice”
OATH Index No. 108/14

A computer specialist employed by the City of New York was charged with insubordination for answering phone calls to the IT Help Desk in a robotic voice and failing to properly and timely process IT Help Desk tickets.

The employee denied answering calls in a robotic voice, and asserted that he was following the greeting script provided by his supervisor and speaking slowly and clearly so callers would understand him.

The employee’s supervisor, on the other hand, had sent a number of e-mail to the employee including one in which she stated that “a caller had asked whether there was a new automated answering system, and had hung up when she heard “the robot” answer the phone because she needed to speak to a human about her issue.”

OATH Administrative Law Judge Kara J. Miller found that employee was capable of answering calls in a normal tone but chose to use a robotic voice despite being directed by his supervisor to stop. She found his conduct to be insubordinate, observing that “An employee is obligated to obey the lawful order of a supervisor and, if he disagrees with it or feels it to be improper, to grieve it at a later time through available procedures.”

Judge Miller also found that employee disobeyed his supervisor’s orders by failing to properly and timely process IT tickets.

The ALJ recommended that the employee be suspended without pay for 20 days.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:’

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