Issuing an employee written warning is unfortunately a skill that every young supervisor must learn and understand its importance! There is no question unless a supervisor completely closes their eyes to everything around them sooner or later a member of their staff will violate some employment policy. That policy could be as simple as being tardy multiple times to insubordination. In either case the supervisor must act in order to curtain the behavior.
One of the very first and most important steps prior to issuing an employee written warning is verifying the facts. Verifying the facts start with understanding what the company’s policy is on any issue. Let’s take tardy as an example. What does your company employee handbook say is tardy? Sounds like a pretty simple question, but really what does it say. Is tardy being one second late, or two hours. Most employee handbooks will state that not being at work and ready to begin their shift is considered tardy.
What was the reason they were late?
So when you are verifying the facts in an effort to decided whether you should issue an employee written warning or not, how late was the employee? What evidence do you have that they were late? What was the reason they were late? Did they call and speak or leave a message that they were going to be late? How many times have they been late and do you have the same information for all of them?
Now don’t get excited about all the questions I just went through; however, my point is that you should have documentation and evidence when you decide to go forward with issuing an employee written warning.
Because if you ever must enter a courtroom over an employment law suit you will not only need the employee written warning itself, but you will also need the evidence that led to it. In these days of “It’s not my fault”, you must always be prepared to defend yourself. The best way to defend your self is in two very good ways.
Treat and hold everyone fairly and equally...
The first would be to have a detailed employee handbook. The other way is to make sure that when you issue an employee written warning you have the details/facts that back up your actions. Although I don’t count the next important issue as one of the things you need, rather I count it as an action that you must take. That action is making sure that you treat and hold everyone fairly and equally. If you don’t, you will find yourself in a courtroom faster than you can say, “Judgment for the plaintiff in the amount of one million dollars!”
So how do you write an employee written warning?
Dear Mr. John Doe Employee:
This written warning is being issued to you for excessive tardiness, which is a violation of our company policy!
As stated in our company employee handbook, being tardy more than three times in a thirty day period will result in progressive discipline, up to and including termination.
Specifically, you were tardy six minutes on July 7, 2010, eleven minutes on July 18, 2010, and eight minutes on July 28, 2010. You failed to notify your supervisor and request permission to be late prior to your start time on any of these occasions. You signed acknowledging that you have received a copy of the company employee handbook on January 5, 2009.
Going forward you are expected to be on time and ready to begin your shift on or before your scheduled start time. If you are unable to be on time and ready to work you are required to notify your supervisor to request permission to be absent or late. Understand that simply notifying your supervisor is not automatically granted. If you are tardy or violate any other company policy you will be subject to additional progressive discipline up to and including possible termination.
Signed Your Supervisor
Signed John Doe Employee
As you can see an employee written warning can be pretty easy to write. You can add to the above information if you like, but make sure you only include facts and no feelings at all. A feeling would be something like “I feel you understood that the company had a policy on being tardy!” Instead you need to stick to the facts by stating like above, “You signed acknowledging that you received a copy of the company employee handbook!” Again, only facts! Feelings don’t count so leave them out of the mix!
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
Thank you for reviewing this article on an employee written warning.