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Letter of Complaint Regarding Team Member

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 15 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Letter Complaint Formal Format Sample

Complaining about a team member should never be taken lightly. After all, you must work with him or her every day and formally complaining to others, rather than talking to the perceived offender, may seem like overkill in any number of situations. But there are times when taking a complaint to the next level is the only option and clearly stating your grievances in a letter is a good idea. Knowing when and how to complain about a team member, as well as how to format your letter of complaint, should help you decide when this is the best route for resolving a particular situation.

When to Complain About a Team Member

If you are working on a team with another member who you feel impedes the success of your work, you will want to think carefully before taking a complaint to your team supervisor. Consider the questions your supervisor might ask. Have you tried to work out the issue yourself? Have you spoken with the team member of whom you are complaining? Have you brainstormed possible alternative routes to success as a team? Have you attempted to implement your new possibilities? If you can honestly answer yes to each question then it is probably time to let your supervisor know that you have a complaint.

How to Complain About a Team Member

It can be tricky to complain about a team member and not feel petty or immature while doing so. Writing your grievances in a letter is a good way to examine your wording and the type and amount of information you include. To reinforce your complaints and the impact of the offending team member, make sure that you includes information on how that individual’s behaviour affects the success of the team. Be ready to explore:
  • The nature of your complaint (laziness, personal hygiene, attitude, sabotage, etc).
  • How often this complaint occurs (daily, with each new client, once per project, etc).
  • Any record you have kept of the behaviour which has inspired the complaint.
  • What you have already done to combat the complaint (things you have said or done).
  • How the complaint affects the team (low morale, bickering, lack of trust, etc).
  • Why you believe you are right (past results, organisation rules or guidelines, etc).
  • What you believe could be done to rectify the situation.
  • A note of thanks to the recipient for reviewing your complaint.

Format of a Letter of Complaint

A letter of complaint to a supervisor or other organisational representative should be formatted as a formal business letter. After all, by putting your complaint in writing you are lodging a formal complaint according to organisation guidelines, not just mentioning an issue informally or in passing. Most letters of complaint about team members are intra-office mail so you do not need to including the mailing addresses of the letter writer or recipient. Do include the date of writing for your own records. Including a subject line may be your preference but it is not strictly necessary. Use a formal salutation and conclusion. Reference any attachments you might include. Do not print your complaint onto company letterhead as the views contain in your message are your own and not necessarily indicative of the views of your whole organisation. Deliver your complaint via office mail but make sure it is delivered in an envelope so that only the recipient will be able to view your message.

Sample of a Letter Of Complaint

TO: Kate Jones, Human Resources Associate

FROM: Penelope Craft, Senior Sales Manager

DATE: 05 April, 2011

Dear Kate,

Further to your last workshop exploring methods of resolving grievances within the workplace I must write with an official complaint regarding a sales team member.

Patricia Clarke is our newest Retail Associate and she has already established a pattern of arriving late for work, taking breaks longer than allowed, leaving early and avoiding certain tasks pertinent to her position including stock taking, closing out her till and clearing out dressing rooms when needed. Patricia is also unable to get along with her coworkers and on more than one occasion has insulted customers, causing them to leave the shop without completing a desired purchase. As these are all tasks clearly stated for the role of Retail Associate, and in fact compromise the bulk of her regular workload, I must file this complaint that Patricia Clarke is failing at her position.

Patricia has already been warned verbally twice about her substandard work, once by her supervisor Mary McCarthy and once by myself. Her work patterns have not changed following either warning. As per company guidelines I am not lodging this written complaint as a third warning and a copy of this complaint has been delivered to Patricia as well.

It is my recommendation that Patricia attend the upcoming Successful Sales training course as well as review the requirements of her Retail Associate position with you and I. I also recommend that Patricia be put on a 3 month probation during which she may attempt to change her behaviour, however may be let go if she continues to be unable to perform the duties of her position in a manner conducive to the company.

Thank you for reviewing this complaint.


Penelope Craft
Senior Sales Manager

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