1. Employee Warning Letter
2. Types of Warning Letters
3. Tips & Sample Warning Letter

An employee behavior warning letter is a document that an employer issues to notify an employee that they violated company policy. The purpose of a warning letter is to inform the employee of their unacceptable conduct, poor performance, or behavior, and also the consequences of their actions. A written notice is given to an employee if they continue to violate company policies even after receiving a verbal warning in order to protect the company against future disputes.

Employee Warning Letter

An employee warning letter is also known as a written warning, letter of reprimand, disciplinary form, and warning notice. When an employee fails to improve performance or behavior following a verbal warning, the company's Human Resources department composes and sends an employee warning letter documenting the issue. Typically, a company will issue and document an oral warning first, then give a written notice, then a final written warning, and if necessary, terminate employment.

The form describes the act or misconduct that took place and disciplinary procedures, as well as a plan of action to help the employee improve their performance and eliminate any miscommunication between the supervisor and employee. An Employee Warning Letter protects an employer by showing that the company took corrective action to resolve any employee-related issues.

An employee will be put on probation depending on the severity of the offense, or if they have been issued multiple warnings and repeat the same unethical behavior. During the probation period, the employee must improve their behavior or met the requirements in a specified amount of time. Repeated actions of misconduct, failure to met probation requirements, and certain extreme acts result in job termination.

An employee warning letter can include:

  • The employee's name, job title, and employee number.
  • The supervisor's name, the name of the company, and the name of the human resource manager.
  • Details of the violation.
  • Involved or affected parties.
  • The behavior guidelines that the person was not able to follow.
  • A plan of corrective measures.
  • A section for employee comments, whether a meeting is required, signatures of both parties, and the date of a follow-up assessment.

Types of Warning Letters

There can be several overall reasons for an employee warning letter:

  • Poor performance.
    • Failure to meet minimum standards of the position.
    • Failure to meet job requirements during a probationary period.
  • Disrespectful behavior.
    • Inappropriate or disruptive behavior towards a co-worker, customer, supervisor, or company official.
  • Insubordination.
    • Intentionally refusing to following directions from a supervisor or company official.
    • Arguing with a supervisor, manager, or company officials.
  • Gossiping.
    • Talking about or spreading rumors concerning the private affairs of co-workers or another employee.
  • Sexual Harassment.
    • Using explicit or suggestive language, or engaging in any unwelcome physical contact with a co-worker, customer, visitor, vendor, supervisor, or subordinate.
  • Excessive Absenteeism or Tardiness.
    • Without prior approval or unscheduled days off.
  • Hygiene.
    • Poor hygiene.
    • Excessive perfume/cologne.
    • Not properly groomed.
  • Dress Code Violation.
    • Failure to meet the required dress code.
  • Misrepresentation of their qualifications.
    • Exaggerating qualifications in order to get a job.
  • Misconduct.
    • An intentional act.
    • Conveys the idea of wrongful intention.
      • The degree of severity varies from misuse of the internet to criminal offenses including theft of company property.
  • Violates health and safety, drug and alcohol, or confidentiality policies.
    • Failure to follow safety procedures or work practices.
    • Releasing or discussing company information.
    • Failure to secure information.
      • Logging off the computer improperly.
    • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at work.
  • Imposes possible danger to the staff or threatens another employee.
    • Threatening harm to a co-worker, supervisor, company official, visitor, or customer.
    • Destruction of company or personal property.
    • Fighting at work with a co-worker, supervisor, company official, visitor, or customer.
    • Possession of a weapon.

Tips & Sample Warning Letter

A written warning should start by simply explaining why the employee's wrongful conduct or act is unacceptable despite earlier verbal warnings. An employer should request that the employee treat the notice as an official warning, and clarify disciplinary actions including suspension or termination if the misbehavior continues. Lastly, inform the employee of the required or expected behavior and ask the employee to observe good conduct going forward. If you need need a template for a warning letter, there are several available online:

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