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Preparing an Employee Written Warning Letter

Updated on November 24, 2012
Employee Written Warning Letter
Employee Written Warning Letter | Source

Employee Written Warning Letter

Preparing an employee written warning letter is never a pleasant task for any supervisor no matter how long you have been in a leadership role. Having to do so means that someone under your leadership is failing in some way.

However, no matter how well you’ve done someone will ultimately require discipline at some point, unless you are ignoring the obvious.

Before we go any further discipline is for correcting behavior and generally speaking not performance. Correcting performance should be handled through a performance improvement plan.

The major difference between performance and behavior is can’t and won’t.

If someone can’t perform the task then we are dealing with performance.

When the employee can perform the task and doesn’t then we are dealing with won’t. Big difference.

Other reasons for an employee written warning letter would be for violations of company policy, such as, tardiness, absenteeism, insubordination, stealing, disrespectful behavior, sexual harassment, etc.

Now before you jump into action and begin issuing the warning letter make sure you have determined that the employee knew or should have known what they did was wrong.

Example if you have a company policy that states an employee must call in to a certain telephone number and they fail to call do we know for sure they knew. Did you provide them with the policy? Did they attend orientation where this was spoken about?

If we are disciplining them for disrespectful behavior do we have any witness statements. Understand you may not need them, but if you do have a witness and want to use their statement make sure you get it in writing with a date and their signature. If it is used in a legal proceeding at some point in the future it will be very important to have.

Once you are sure that the employee violated a policy and you are ready to produce an employee written warning letter it is important to use facts only and not any feelings. An example of that would be saying that the employee had a bad attitude. What is an attitude? Were they screaming? Were they using facial expressions? Did they raise their voice? Did they roll their eyes? The point is that you need to describe the behavior and not make a general statement.

So an employee written warning letter might look like this;

This written warning letter is being issued to you for tardiness.

Specifically, on June 2, 2011, you reported eight minutes late for your scheduled shift. On June 12, 2011, you reported twelve minutes late for your scheduled shift. On June 22, 2011, you reported six minutes late for your scheduled shift. Your scheduled shift begins at 8:00 am. On November 11, 2010, you attended orientation where you were provided a copy of our employee handbook which includes our policy on tardiness.

It is very important that you report on time and ready to begin work no later than the start of your scheduled shift. There is no grace period.

Mr. Employee, any future violations of our company policy may result in additional disciplinary action up to and including possible termination.

Signed by Supervisor

Signed and dated by Employee

For additional information and samples on preparing and issuing an employee written warning letter visit my For a free Employee Discipline Form you can download it !


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