I want to give an employee a written warning, do you have any advice to give me in preparing the letter?
Here are some essential elements that the notice letter should contain:
- The date, delivery mechanism (in person preferably, but also can be by mail or e-mail) and the type of disciplinary measure given (follow-up to a verbal warning, written warning, suspension, etc.).
- Details of the event including dates, description, witnesses and consequences.
- Factors considered such as:
- Is this is a recurrence of a past behaviour or an action for which disciplinary action was previously taken?
- Did the employee regret his actions or recognize his error?
- Any other special circumstance surrounding the issue (ex. employee has been late because wife is in hospital).
- The behaviour that the employee must correct and, if applicable, the time given to correct the situation.
- Any help offered by the employer such as training, counseling or other resources.
- Consequences of a recurrence such as the next disciplinary measure that will be taken.
Before preparing the letter always make sure to get your facts straight by meeting witnesses and ensuring that the disciplinary measure taken is appropriate to the situation. If necessary take a deep breath and try to look at the situation as objectively as possible. Always meet the employee with a second member of management as a witness. If you feel uncertain about the situation do not hesitate to consult a professional who will be able to provide you with a neutral perspective.
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