Issuing an employee written warning letter should always be taken very seriously. After all, the person on the receiving end could eventually be out of a job! Even when someone deserves to be disciplined we should make sure that we have come to the right conclusion before issuing the warning letter.

In the world of human resources fact finding is a process. The process should be followed in order to determine the root cause of the employee’s behavior. This does not necessarily change the fact that discipline needs to be issued, however, it does help to determine a potential solution so that the behavior changes. After all, everything except termination should be for the sole purpose of correcting an employee’s behavior and not punishment.

So as an example if an employee is late for work the fact finding process should be to determine why they were late. Therefore, hypothetically the fact finding session could go something like this:

Supervisor: Why are you late for work?

Employee: Because I missed my ride.

Supervisor: Why did you miss your ride?

Employee: Because I didn’t wake up on time.

Supervisor: Why didn’t you wake up?

Employee: Because I got to bed very late.

Supervisor: Why did you get to bed so late?

Employee: Because I have to work two jobs.

Supervisor: Why do you have to work two jobs?

Employee: Because I recently got a divorce and I have to pay child support and alimony.

Now keep in mind that following this path all the way through does not allow this employee the right to be late; however, it may open up some possible solutions. Solutions such as changing their schedule, moving closer to work so that they could sleep in a little more and walk.

Again, you most likely will still want to go forward with issuing an employee written warning letter in order to treat everyone fairly, i.e., everyone that has been late should receive the same or similar discipline so that you do not expose yourself to an EEOC claim.

That letter may look something like this:

Dear Mr. John Smith:

This written warning is being issued to you for violating our company policy on attendance.

Specifically, you were tardy on June 2, 2012, June 21, 2012, and July 12, 2012. Although you did notify your supervisor that you were going to be tardy this does not excuse the tardy. I have attached copies of the time cards showing the specific time you reported for duty on those dates.

Going forward it is very important that you report for work on time and ready to begin work prior to your scheduled shift beginning. I have also attached our company attendance policy.

Mr. Smith, future violations of our company policy may result in additional disciplinary action up to and including possible termination.


Signed and Dated by the Supervisor

Signed and Dated by the Employee

The elements of the written warning letter are straight forward; identify what it is, the specifics of the violation, the correct behavior, and what happens if any type of poor behavior continues.

Thank you and May God Bless you!

Author's Bio: 

To learn more about the written warning letter process along with multiple examples please visit my website Good Leadership Skills for Life.