The Warning Letter
Initial warning letters serve as a formal record to make an employee aware of his or her misconduct or unacceptable behavior. First, the employee becomes aware of a problematic issue. These warnings also shows the manager has inquired and talked to the employee in person, and conveys clearly the behavior or performance standards expected from them. The warning letter comes at the end of the process, to document the issue in the employee file, and to provide a legal basis for future dismissal should the employee challenge his or her dismissal in court.
A final warning letter is a last chance given for the employee to make amends. Employers usually terminate the employee without any further notice if the employee displays the same behavior even after receiving this final warning.
Labor laws do not specify the number of warning letters an employer has to serve, or that the employer has to serve a specific warning letter. The number of letters, the format, and the process depends on your in-house policy, or precedents adopted by the company. Often, the final warning letter may actually be the only warning letter.
The HR department would do well to meet the employee in person to discuss the issue at hand, and work out a program to resolve the problem. A first letter of warning may accompany or follow this meeting. Many companies repeat this process for a second time if the issue persists, and the third repetition becomes the final attempt before summary dismissal.