Warning Letter to an Employee
Warning letters are used by organisations inform employees that they have broken a rule or gone against company policy. Organisations will all have different methods of giving, and dealing with, warnings - but a written warning is a powerful tool to let an employee know that their actions were inappropriate. A warning letter to an employee must contain information about the action or event that resulted in a warning, reiterate the organisation's policies regarding warnings and allow the employee to make comments regarding the incident or warning.
Warning Letters: Incident DetailsWarning letters may be issued following actions taken by an employee, statements made by an employee, attitudes taken by an employee or in reference to an employee's performance. Generally three warnings may be issued, prior to the dismissal or termination of an employee though this will depend upon employment law and the employee or organisation's specific situation. Because warning letters build upon each other, are kept in an employee's file and may even be required during future legal proceedings, they must include pertinent details of the incidents for which the employee is being warned. The date on which the incident took place, what was observed, if complaints were lodged, if there were witnesses and the location of the incident should all be included in the summary.
Warning Letters: Organisational PoliciesWarning letters are also a good place to remind employees of organisational policies regarding warnings and investigations. A brief restatement of how and why warnings are issued, why and when investigations are instituted, what happens to warning letters and if warning letters will affect an employee's career are all appropriate for inclusion in a warning letter. Direction to more information, such as in a company handbook, from an organisation's human resources officer or from a union may also be included.
Warning Letters: Employee ResponseWarning letters should let employees know that they can respond to the warning. This may be by leaving blank space for the employee to write a response directly on the letter or by offering details of when a response is required in order for it to be included in the employee's file with the warning letter. Instructions should also be given for the possibility that an employee chooses not to respond. These instructions should direct employees to make a statement that they will not offer a response, and to make this statement in front of a signed witness.
Sample of a Warning Letter to an EmployeeMs. Joan Bentley
Ms. Elizabeth Montgomery
Dear Ms. Montgomery,
On 23 January, 2009 you were overheard making racially motivated remarks in regards to one of your clients here at [Organisation]. At the time you were confronted by your immediate superior, [Name and Job Title] and advised that these types of remarks are intolerable in the workplace. These remarks were also overheard by [Witness One] and [Witness Two] who were in the break room with you. Please find attached a full summary of this incident.
This letter now serves as your first warning regarding proper conduct and behaviour of [Organisation] employees. More information regarding the warning system can be found in the Employee Handbook which you were issued upon commencing employment with [Organisation]. If you require another copy of this handbook or more information about written warnings I would be happy to provide them.
Please also find attached a Warning Response Sheet on which you may reply to this warning. Please be aware that this warning, and any response you make, will be put into your employee file. If you prefer not to make a response please bring the sheet to me and I will bear witness to your preference. Your response is required by 16 February, 2009.