Employee Warning Notice: Take Action To Bring Order Back

Employee Warning Notice

Preparing and issuing an employee warning notice can be stressful; however, it is a necessary thing if you have been in a leadership role for very long. If you are not up for it this may not be the right profession for you. After all issuing Disciplinary Action is a part of any sound Disciplinary Action Policy. If you don’t correct poor behavior immediately and fairly you will be in for future trouble. In most cases that means some sort of legal action which always spells large sums of money, even if you win!

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Employee Warning Notice: Be Fair but Consistent

The basic rules for issuing an Employee Warning Notice would be to make sure you are being fair and consistent with all your employees. This is one of the basic rules for your Disciplinary Action Policy. That means if you have experienced the same behavior from someone else and did nothing you better be prepared to justify your actions. I will tell you up front that it is very hard to justify this since it is flat out wrong. Treat everyone equally! You may not think they notice but they do!

If you’re the owner of your business and have a number of supervisor’s, especially young and less experienced ones, you will want to make sure before they ever issue any Employee Warning Notice that you question them carefully about not only this Disciplinary Action but if there has been anyone else that has violated this same policy and what was there reaction. Let’s say it was being tardy on three different occasions in the last month. If any other employees have been late, how late were they? How many times were they late? Did you say or do anything?

Other questions to ask your young supervisor before they issue a Warning Notice would be did the employee know that they have violated your company policy. How did they know it was a violation? Is your policy written or are they just suppose to understand it? If it is a written policy how did you communicate it to them? Is it in your Employee Policy Manual? You do have an Employee Policy Manual don’t you? Tell me that you have one! Did they receive a copy of it with all your employee policies and procedures! Is there signed acknowledgment in their personnel file? If you’re doing this I would strongly suggest that you begin doing it immediately. 

The next thing to remember before you issue any Warning Notice is that it should be a Progressive Disciplinary Action. In other words you would want to start with the lowest form of discipline and work your way to more severe disciplinary actions. This would mean you may start with something like a written counseling and work your way up from there to a Written Warning. You can continue issuing Written Warnings until you reach three. On the third warning in a twelve month rolling calendar period, you may want to consider termination.

So if your Progressive Disciplinary Policy states that they will receive a Counseling first, one Employee Warning Notice, a second Employee Warning Notice, and then an Employee Termination Notice. If this all occurs in a twelve month period you should be ok, provided it is in your written Disciplinary Action Policy and the employees know that this is your policy. The final part like I mentioned earlier is that you are treating everyone the same. No Exceptions!!

This does not mean if you do nothing to one individual and issue an Employee Warning Notice to someone else you are safe. No treat everyone the same. If one gets a Warning Notice for a particular behavior everyone else will. This is quite common for younger inexperienced supervisors. Train your supervisors to do it right. It will keep you out of court! Remember court is not a good thing ever!

Good Luck and May God Bless You!



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Why issue an Employee Warning Notice?

Why do you need to issue an employee warning notice to an employee? Many who are operating their own small businesses today put themselves at great risk when they finally get fed up with an employee and terminate them without providing them any prior warnings at all!

Those same business owners will tell you they have the right to hire and fire whoever they wish.

After all it's their business!

I agree it is their business to lose if they wish. You can be right, yet still wrong!

The key to all of this is documentation.

Whether it is something serious like fighting or theft, you still need to document the situation with an employee warning notice even if you take immediate action to terminate them for a serious violation.

So, you tell them that you verbally warned them. They will then ask for the proof. Guess what would work perfectly? You’re right – a written warning notice.

As inexpensive as it is for employee handbook software that will practically do everything except fill in the blanks for you, people still refuse to produce one. Many of these same software programs offer all types of legal forms including a written warning form.

Those same people scream and yell after they lose an unemployment hearing because they didn't have the documentation they needed.

Most employee software out there can be purchased for less than fifty dollars yet small business owners still won't spend the money to get it. They’ll spend that much or more on dinner out!

Speaking from experience I can tell you that two things are almost always asked for at any legal proceeding resulting from a terminated employee.

The first is "Do you have an employee policy manual?"

The second is "Did you issue any type of written warning to the employee prior to termination?"

Why not answer yes to both and significantly reduce your chances of losing.

Preparing a written warning letter couldn't be any easier with the right software or without software at all.

I have unfortunately had to issue hundreds of written warnings over the years.

If someone is late and your “employee policy manual” covers tardiness, then you should be addressing the issue early on. Don't wait until you are so fed up like I mentioned in the second sentence of this article and terminate the person the twentieth time they walk through the door late. I have provided many different examples of employee warning notices on this website.

My guess is that if you didn't take the time to issue them a written warning letter you probably didn't document how late they were, or the date at all. This will be a problem later on. See my article in this blog on “Reasons for Termination.”

The question that will be asked at the legal proceeding will be if it was not acceptable for them to be late why didn't you warn the person.

So, you tell them that you verbally warned them. They will then ask for the proof. Guess what would work perfectly? You’re right – a written warning notice.

Again, for the low cost of software that can handle your employee hand book and many other legal employee documents required by law, including a formatted written warning notice; you are crazy for not having something to use.

Thank you for reviewing this information on a written warning notice. Return to the previous page on a written warning.



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Need Small Business Forms that Solve Problems Like Issuing an Employee Warning Notice?

Small businesses face all the new and existing challenges every single day.  Keeping their doors open and staying profitable takes hard work, creativity, and more than anything else a lot of common sense. One common sense approach to saving time, while addressing an employee’s poor behavior is to take advantage of like an employee warning notice form.

Small Business Forms Will Make Your Life So Much Easier

There are many reasons that separate our free employee warning notice form (download the links located in the upper right hand corner) from any others on the market. First and foremost, our form is fully electronic and interactive, which simply means that you can bring up, complete the standard information, select the type and reasons for discipline, and then print our custom form developed from over forty years of experience in leadership.

When we sat down to develop any of our small business forms, we had you, the small business owner, in mind. We understood that there are not very many small business owners that have a fully staffed Human Resources Department to call upon with their facing an employee disciplinary issue. Therefore, we added logical choices within our electronic form, conveniently located in drop down menus, for you to select from when it comes to what type of discipline best fits your small business.

We knew that something needed to be developed for you because we have been a small business owner ourselves.  We knew that you face the same type of disciplinary issues that any large business faces, and the business and legal ramifications that will absolutely arise if they are ignored.

As an example, if you have an employee that is showing up to work late repeatedly and don’t address the problem until you have had it up to your eyeballs my guess is that you are going to do something that may find you in the middle of a legal battle you can’t afford. That something might be that you terminate them right on the spot. In fact, you are so frustrated that you yell and scream at them to get out. Because of your frustration you don’t bother explaining anything other than you have had enough and you want them out.

Now every business owner has the right to employ who they want provided they don’t violate the law in the process. In almost every case small business owners only want one type of employee. The type of employee I am speaking of is the type that does their job to the very best of their ability.  They show up to work on time, they are clean, they are dressed appropriately, they respect others, they are honest, and they do what they are instructed without talking back.

Our small business forms will keep the process of issuing an employee warning notice easy and logical. By keeping this process easy it will ensure that progressive discipline will be issued when the poor behavior is taking place instead of waiting. Waiting only subjects your workforce to poor productivity (costing you money), and can create a situation where any employee files a wrongful discharge, if you terminate them. Remember it really doesn’t matter if you are fully justified in terminating the employee if you can’t show evidence that you warned them what the consequences of their behavior were.

It is always important to seek legal representative before issuing any discipline to avoid legal issues.

Thank you and May God bless you!

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