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!
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!