Why do we need an employee written warning form at all. After all, all employees follow the rules without question don't they? No one is ever late, disrespectful, calls without showing up, steals, discriminates, or sexually harasses anyone do they?
Well, if you do not have a lot of experience with issuing discipline it is wise to use an employee written warning form, especially since they can be free or very inexpensive. There really isn’t anything complicated about writing an actual written warning with the exception of making sure that you include all the elements of employee discipline. The reason that it is so important is that if you end up in court it is critical to have evidence that you warned them about what any potential consequences could be if they continue to not follow your company policies.
However, prior to completing and issuing a written warning form it is even more import to produce an Employee Handbook which takes care of the most important element of all. That is the element of making sure that you have established a policy against their wrong doing. The wrong doing could be anything from simply being tardy to misuse of company property. Don’t take it for granted that everyone should know that these are not allowed in the workplace. The problem becomes defining what really is tardy and are you making sure that everyone is being held to the same standard?
I can tell you from experience that the one single thing that will cause you more problems is not treating everyone equally. That means that if you issue a Written Warning Form for someone being three minutes tardy one time you better issue one to everyone else. An employee that is in a protected class will file a discrimination claim against you with the Equal Employee Opportunity Commission (EEOC) quicker than you can say “Million Dollar Law Suit!” Remember a protected class includes race, sex, age, national origin, religion, etc.
So you go forward with issuing an Employee Written Warning Form to someone that has mentioned a couple times that they are Jewish or Catholic and you are not and that could be enough cause for them claim religious discrimination. Now of course there is a little more to it than that, but you get my point. I’ve been in the business world for over forty years and I have seen some pretty bizarre things along the way. When employees are terminated for poor performance they want to grasp at anything and everything including discrimination. Protect yourself with an Employee Handbook and a solid Employee Written Warning Form!
As I've stated throughout this article one of the most important additions you can make to your business is producing a simple but effective employee policy manual, or also known as an employee handbook. This will clearly let everyone, including any attorney representing an employee trying to sue you, that you had established rules that were made known. I have been before many judges and simply provided them our employee policy manual and almost immediately the case turned in our favor.
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Good Luck and May God Bless You!