Should We or Should We Not Issue an Employee Written Warning Letter?
Issuing an employee written warning letter for some supervisors is more painful than having a root canal! There is no question that no one wants or likes to deal with problems at work especially when it comes to confronting an employee about doing something wrong! In fact, many will continue to ignore it hoping it will get better! It never does!
What I have found over my nearly forty years in the workforce is that confronting the issue immediately is the best solution. The longer we wait the more frustrated we get and at some point we finally explode. At that point we want to go from doing nothing to termination in one quick swoop! In addition, when we do explode it leaves the employee confused wondering what is going on. After all they have been demonstrating the poor behavior for some time and nothing was done. In their mind they believe it is alright.
If we approach the idea of issuing an employee written warning as a tool to correct behavior and not punishment, it will be much easier to address the problem. A warning letter is for that purpose only, correcting behavior. On the other hand a termination letter is for addressing an issue we have given up on!
If an employee has violated a policy that merits being issued a written warning there are a few things we should do first prior to moving forward. Here is a short checklist that might help;
Interview the employee and any witnesses that might have information pertinent to the issue. When interviewing them make sure that you inform them that you are conducting the interviews to try and find out what exactly happened. During this process you should have an open mind to the idea maybe the facts will show something entirely different than what you originally thought. It is best to
Check all verifiable records that pertain to the issue. As an example if it is an attendance issue make sure you examine the time cards. If it is an issue where they violated a policy make sure you check to see if they received training or information on that policy. This could be especially important for violations of your sexual harassment or discrimination policy since most states mandate that you have informed your employees about your policy.
Next take a look at what you have done in the past to other employees that have violated your policy. In fact, don’t only look at this issue but take a look at all violations to make sure you are acting fairly and consistently. This is the one area where if you discipline one employee for a violation of your policy but didn’t discipline another one I can guarantee that they will bring that to your attention. If that person falls into a protected class it becomes especially important since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will be asking questions if the employee reports it.
Although there is nothing enjoyable about issuing an employee written warning letter in the end it brings structure to your organization. As I mentioned above though the key is fair and consistent treatment to all your employees. When you begin to involve feelings into the equation you begin to place your organization at risk to a law suit. Make no mistake that juries and courts tend to favor employees over organizations. Act wisely and swiftly after verifying the facts.
Writing An Employee Written Warning Letter!
From time to time you may find yourself in need of creating an employee written warning letter. While this situation is not one that anyone wants to find themselves in, it is one that if handled properly can help both you and your employee. Here are a few reasons you may need to create an employee written warning letter.
Do you have an employee who is constantly under performing for one reason or another? If so, writing a letter concerning their job performance can be helpful. There are many reasons an employee might not be adequately doing their job, but pointing out that this is unacceptable may help the worker to change their ways.
A letter for poor job performance should contain as many specifics as possible. Share the exact tasks the employee is performing poorly on. Also, include the ways that the employee can improve their performance, and the consequences for not improving.
There are many reasons for poor job performance. By writing a warning letter and finding the underlying cause, you may be able to turn your employee's behavior around. Does your employee have a lot going on outside of work? It's possible the worker's child is sick or struggling. Another option is that your employee and his or her spouse aren't getting along. Another reason you may have an under performing employee is that they don't understand your expectations. Make sure that your employee knows exactly what is expected of him or her. This will be helpful in knowing if you have a good employee or one who is not interested in doing their job.
Maybe the employee who needs and employee written warning letter works hard, but has made a bad decision or two. This is a good reason to write a warning letter and have the action or actions documented should they happen again. Hopefully with a warning letter, the actions will cease, but if they don't, you will have proof that the incident has happened in the past and will give you more proof for disciplinary actions.
When writing your letter for misconduct, make sure you can include as many specifics as possible. Include dates, times, incidents, and any other relevant information. You should also include the company's policies and procedures. Also, make sure that you outline the consequences for future misconduct.
Again, you should find out the cause for the misconduct. Does your employee know the rules, guidelines, and procedures of your company? If they do and continue to make poor choices, a warning letter with the rules spelled out for them may help. If it doesn't help, you might need to find a new employee.
Writing an employee written warning letter is something that can be quite helpful if done the proper way. Use the information that you learned here to create letters that help you adequately communicate with your employees. By having these things in writing, you are covering yourself should a disgruntled employee approach you in the future.
What Does It Mean When You Get An Employee Written Warning Letter?
There are certain steps that an employer needs to take when addressing work-related concerns with regard to an employee. One of the steps they can take to reprimand you is to give you an employee written warning letter.
But what does it man when you receive one of these letters?
Basically, it means that you have infringed upon the rules and regulations that have been implemented in your place of work or are in contravention of your employment contract. The rules and regulations should be contained in an employee handbook that you would have received on your first day of work.
You should only receive an employee written warning letter if you have repeated an offence after receiving one or more verbal warnings from your employer. This means that you shouldn't be surprised by the fact that you have been issued with a written warning. However, if a once off offence is considered to be severe enough, you could receive such a letter without any prior warning.
You will be required to sign a copy of the letter which will then be included in your employee record. It is essential to read the letter carefully before signing as this is an admission of guilt on your part and could have significance in the future.
You have the right to defend yourself in the matter before signing the letter. For example, if you have been warned about arriving late for work, you can give a valid reason for the infringement such as a car breakdown or illness. If your defense checks out, the warning letter may be withdrawn.
However, if you have repeatedly been late for work, your defense may not stand, no matter how valid your reason on that specific occasion. You can also defend yourself if you were unaware that you were contravening any employee rules or regulations.
If you have received more than one warning in writing, your employer has the right to terminate your employment. Repeated warnings do not need to be related to the same infringement for your employer to take this action but in some cases, this may be a stipulation.
Written warnings that form part of your employee record may not be removed and can have consequences on future employment. Any future employer seeking references may be informed of your infringements and that you received a written warning as to the infringement. This may make you a less than ideal candidate for employment.
It is essential to take the warning letter seriously and try to avoid repeated behavior. If you feel that the warning letter has been issued unfairly, you should find out if you have access to an employee representative to defend you.
In extreme cases, you can opt for legal representation in the form of employing the services of a lawyer or attorney. This can however be quite an expensive route to follow so you should be sure you are in the right before taking this course of action.
Things To Say In An Employee Written Warning Letter!
Are you the manager of a large company, dealing with a couple different employees that are not really doing their part? You may have several problems with them, most of which can be resolved by simply speaking with them, but sometimes a written letter is necessary. There are several reasons for this including showing physical proof that issues that you had with certain employees were actually addressed, something that could be used against you if they ever file a formal grievance. There are certain strategies that you must use when you are crafting an employee written warning letter, a few of which will be addressed next.
What This Letter Should Say
The first thing that you should know is that this letter must be very formal, written in a proper style. It should have a date at the top, who it is from, and should be written on paper with your company logo. It should also be signed by you, if you are the one addressing the problems, and the content of this letter needs to be precise. You will first begin with addressing who they are, what department they are in, and then begin by listing the problems that must be resolved. This can be done in a paragraph format, addressing each individual issue. You can also list all of the issues in bullet points if possible, making it very simple for the employee to understand the problems that need to be rectified. There also needs to be a timetable on the letter by which the improvements or changes must be made. Finally, consequences must be presented at the end of the letter, if things are not improved upon by the said date, then those consequences will go into effect. This could be anything from getting written up formally, or effectively losing their job. Depending upon the company that you are with, the actions that you take need to comply with any union rules or else your demands for improvements may simply be ignored.
What The Letter Should Not Say
Letters of reprimand, or letters that are designed to help improve an employee's performance levels or conduct, should never make accusations. This should not be something that is presented in regard to rumors that you have heard, or accusations that another employee has made. You must be confident and be able to support what you are saying with actual proof. Essentially, the information that you present should have a paper trail which clearly shows that the employee is perhaps taking money from the cash register, showing up late consistently, or their production for their particular part in the company is simply not up to par. Otherwise, you should leave out anything that does not have a direct line of sight to evidence that could be used to eventually remove them from their position, giving you the power that you will need to legally do so.
Most people that receive an employee written warning letter try to make good on the demands. If it is a simple problem that can be easily changed without that much effort, most employees can fix the problem right away. If this is an ongoing problem that has been addressed multiple times by others, and you are now making a formal request in writing, it may take some time to eliminate the employee that is not going to comply, especially if there is a union, but it is the first step toward fixing things at your company. This brief overview of how to create an employee written warning letter should make it easier for you to craft one quickly and send it out, fully confident that it will be well received. As long as you are addressing traceable problems, and the employee actually wants to comply with your request, it will be the best way to improve the employee having problems at your place of business.
Best of luck, God Bless and thank you for reviewing this article on an employee written warning letter.
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