Warnings and Documentation
For each company policy violation, list how warnings will work. They should be in writing with a clear description of what the employee did to violate the policy, the date the policy was violated, and a place for both supervisor and employee to sign. Finally, the employee should be given a copy of the written warning. G-Neil, a human resource products company, sells great three-part employee warning forms that don't have to be super specific. You can also find a useful employee warning template in our Media Gallery.
Usually, three warnings are enough to terminate an employee. Make that clear in your handbook that if a person receives three warnings they may be terminated or demoted; whatever your policy entails. If you utilize your own warning form, be short and concise and put no emotion into writing the violation. Make sure there is a place for the employee to write his or her comments. If the employee refuses to sign the warning, write that on the form and give the employee a copy of the warning. If the employee is insistent upon giving you an earful, let them talk and just listen.
Failure to document warnings makes it almost impossible to terminate a difficult employee. If you do terminate an employee without warnings, be prepared to lose when they apply for unemployment insurance and some of the most difficult will file a complaint with the Department of Labor. All complaints filed with the Department of Labor open a case audit. If this happens to you, expect a visit from a Department of Labor representative and a long, drawn out investigation.