Are you faced with having to write a Warning Letter and you don’t have a clue as to where to begin? Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger! Everyone that hasn’t written one feels the exact same way! The good news is that they are not all that hard provided you include all the important elements so that you have a written document to use as evidence if the behavior gets worse! Don’t forget also that you can always use a simple Employee Written Warning Form. This will include everything you need to make sure that if you have to use it in a legal proceeding you will be prepared.
Generally in the first paragraph of a Warning Letter you want to declare what it is and what violation they violated! Here is an example of a typical first paragraph for someone being excessively Tardy.
John, you are being issued this Letter Warning for Excessive Tardiness, which is a violation of our company policy. You received a copy of our Employee Handbook during your employee orientation on June 4, 2005.
This is a very simple way to begin a Warning Letter and it need not be any more difficult than this. This same simple sentence can be added right into an Employee Written Warning Form.
The next piece of important information in a Warning Letter should spell out exactly what the employee did that violated your company policy in your Employee Handbook.
Here is a simple example of how easy it can be;
Specifically, you were tardy eight minutes on July 7, 2006, eleven minutes on August 3, 2006, and finally fourteen minutes on September 25, 2006. In addition, you failed to notify your supervisor that you were going to be tardy. After speaking with you on each of those dates, you informed your supervisor that you were just running late.
Again, a Warning Letter does not have to be complicated and can be presented on an Employee Written Warning Form. The other format which is a little bit more of a pain is to type it out and place it on your company letter head. Please don’t forget to have a simple Employee Handbook that spells out your company policies. This is extremely simple and inexpensive to accomplish with all the Employee Policy Software out there prepared by professional attorney’s who specialize in this type of law.
The final piece of a Written Warning is to spell out the correct behavior. This can be done just as easily and here is an example;
As explained on the company Employee Handbook you are to be to work on time and ready to begin work prior to your shift beginning. If you are unable to be at work on time you are required to notify your supervisor and request permission. However, notifying your supervisor is no guarantee that you will be excused from reporting to work on time. The correct telephone number to call is xxx-xxx-xxxx.
The final piece is just to clarify what will happen if the employee continues to not follow company policy as defined in your company Employee Handbook. Here is a short example:
John, if you continue to violate company policy you will receive additional discipline up to and including possible termination.
Make sure you both sign the document whether it is on Letter Head or an Employee Written Warning Form. If the employee refuses to sign the document you simply call in a witness and go over the information again; however, this time the witness will sign that the employee refused to sign.
If the employee decides to get up and leave the meeting, I have always used this technique to put that to an immediate stop. I simply say;
“If you want to leave you are free to do so; however, I will accept that as your resignation!”
They immediately turn around and sit right back down. I have never had one employee continue out the door!
In either case good luck! You will have no problems doing this!
Writing Your Employee a Warning Letter? Here is How You Can!
Ask any manager and they wouldn’t think twice before telling you that firing an employee is perhaps the most difficult part of their job.
Yet this is something you will need to do, a lot of times, throughout your managerial career. There is no gentle way of letting someone go but you can make sure the employee is prepared for the termination!
This is done by writing an employee warning letter. In fact, a warning before terminating an employee’s contract is considered the acceptable way.
Are You Ready to Fire An Employee?
Legally, employers aren’t required to warn their employees in advance regarding their termination unless company policy states otherwise. Most proactive companies have standard procedures in place that are followed religiously before terminating employees.
Does this mean you should fire an employee without giving warning them? No, it’s generally a good idea to warn employees before terminating them… for the following reasons:
✔ The employee may actually make needed improvements in work performance or behavior if he or she knows about them
✔ Handing out a warning letter is simply the kinder thing to do – termination from work will cut the employee from their source of livelihood.
✔ Doing this eliminates a lot of drama and will prevent blindsiding the employee when shown the termination letter
✔ One of your main audiences is rest of the staff. Terminating an employee without any warning will create significant anxiety and stress among other employees
How to Write an Employee Warning Letter – Tips of the Trade
Presenting a warning letter to an employee on the basis of poor work performance or unacceptable behavioral issues is the first step towards legal termination.
In fact, the warning letter is used by the employer as a last resort to inform an employee about the grievance. It is also effective in informing an employee he or she should mend ways or else…
Are you writing the employee warning letter correctly? Here are some tips to help:
✔ Letter should begin with a brief description of unacceptable behavior/poor work performance of employee
✔ Mention other complaints about employee received from staff (if any)
✔ Ask employee to treat the letter as a warning
✔ Mention date of counseling that was given (if any)
✔ Mention if this continues to happen… higher authorities will be informed for necessary action
✔ End warning letter asking employee to overcome shortcomings and reiterate observation of good conduct
It is not always a good idea to write something on your own even if something seemingly easy as an employee warning letter. Do you need help in this area?
Leadership Skills for Life provides helpful resources to managers as well as employee warning letter samples!
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
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