Warning letter

A formal warning letter informs an employee of the reasons why his or her behaviour is unacceptable and, if it continues, may lead to the termination of the employee’s employment. Before an employee is given a warning letter, the employer should give the employee an opportunity to respond to the allegations of unacceptable conduct against him or her.

A formal warning letter informs an employee of the reasons why his or her behaviour is unacceptable and, if it continues, may lead to the termination of the employee’s employment.
 
Before an employee is given a warning letter, the employer should give the employee an opportunity to respond to the allegations of unacceptable conduct against him or her. It is recommended that the employer:
  • give the employee written notice of a meeting to review his or her conduct
  • allow the employee to bring a support person to the meeting
  • hold a meeting at which the employee is given an opportunity to respond to any allegations
  • retains a record of what is said at the meeting, including what the employee says in response to the allegations that are put to him or her and
  • considers the employee’s comments and then reaches a decision on what the employer believes to be the correct conclusions regarding the employee’s behaviour.
Once this process has been completed a formal written warning letter can be given to the employee and recorded on the employee’s record of employment.
 
The letter
 
The letter should generally include:
  • a statement that the employee’s conduct and/or performance has been reviewed by the company and the date
  • a detailed description of the matters relating to conduct and/or performance which were raised
  • a detailed outline of the employee’s response to the matters which have been raised
  • a clear statement that the employer has reviewed the employee’s responses, but nevertheless finds the conduct and/or performance to be unsatisfactory
  • a clear warning that unless the employee’s conduct and/or performance improves, termination of his/her employment will result. The warning should also clearly state whether this is a first, second or final warning.
  • the actions to which the employee has agreed to rectify his/her conduct and performance in order to avoid further disciplinary measures by the employer
  • the date on which the employee’s compliance with the agreed actions and on which his/her workplace conduct and performance will be reviewed
  • notification that a copy of the warning letter will be kept in the employee’s personnel file
  • an invitation to discuss the contents of the warning letter.
For an extensive library of policies, agreements, forms, correspondence and checklists, designed to make human resources (HR) management easy for your business see our HR Advance website.

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