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Documenting Disciplinary Actions: Sample Employee Letters

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/27/2011

If an employee that doesn’t abide by company policy, it doesn’t always mean that person is a bad employee. However, there are times when an employee discipline letter is necessary.

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    Trouble in the Workplace?

    Employee Warnings Most times, a written employee warning is best for the small violations such as attendance or absenteeism. In other cases, an employee discipline letter allows supervisors and HR departments the capability of outlining the employee’s problems along with offering suggestions for improvement and an evaluation plan.

    Such letters include not only the chance to address employee issues but also offer a guide or written plan the employee must follow in order to keep their job. Discipline letters can be used by both the employee and employer to help the employee improve. They also create the all-important documentation process every employer needs when employee discipline is necessary.

    It’s best, however, to utilize the employee warning process first and if that doesn’t work or help the employee improve, the discipline letter should be utilized.

    Image Credit (Freedigitalphotos)

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    Example of Employee Discipline Letter – Create a Plan

    Writing the Letter Our first sample of an employee discipline letter allows for an improvement plan to be implemented. You can also download a copy of this letter in our Media Gallery.

    Sample Employee Discipline Letter #1 - Create and Offer an Improvement Plan

    Note: Letters should be placed on company letterhead.

    Date

    • Mr. John Smith
    • 123 Anywhere Street
    • Badboy, Nevada, 80111

    RE: Violation of Company Policy – Plan for Improvement

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    Over the past 6 months, you have received three written warnings regarding the use of company vehicles without permission (or insert the appropriate violation).

    Your supervisor, Bill Jones, has told us that at times, you feel it has been a necessary part of your job and to seek permission for the use of a company vehicle each time would deter your job performance.

    Unfortunately, the Company does not agree and all employees who are allowed to drive company vehicles must abide by the Company’s policy.

    Because we feel you are a valued employee, your supervisor and the Company would like to work with you on not only the stoppage of unauthorized company vehicle usage, but also to work on an plan that will make the process easier for you when in times when you feel a company vehicle is necessary.

    We have attached a written plan for improvement along with a process that hopefully will streamline your ability to gain access to company vehicles and deter continued violations.

    We ask you work with Bill Jones on the attached improvement plan and you will be re-evaluated thirty (30) days from the date of this letter to determine if the plan has been successful.

    Failure to work with Bill Jones on the attached plan may result in termination or change in position. Mr. Jones will update your progress on a weekly basis with his supervisor, Donna Justice.

    Please note that upon your 30 day re-evaluation, if no improvement is found, the Company may choose another avenue for improvement or your position may be terminated. Continued violation of company policy is clearly outlined in the Company’s Employee Handbook regarding the use of company vehicles and the Company expects all employees to follow such policies and procedures.

    We have enclosed two letters herein and request you keep one copy for your records, sign the other and return it to your supervisor as soon as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Henry Hope

    HR Manager

    Cc: Bill Jones / Donna Justice / Employee File

    Enc: Improvement Plan / Duplicate Copy of Letter

    Note: It’s best to hand deliver the letter so the employee has a chance to sign the additional copy and the signed copy can be inserted into the employee’s file.

    Image Credit (Freedigitalphotos)

    Please continue on to Page 2 for our second example of an employee discipline letter that includes a 30-day notice.

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    Discipline Letter for Repetitive Violations - 30-Day Notice

    Employees Should Sign Discipline Letters If you have an employee who is a repeat violator of company policy and written warnings and improvement plans have not worked, the follow thirty-day notice letter may be utilized. Again, you can download a copy of the letter from our Media Gallery.

    Sample Employee Discipline Letter #2 - Repeat Violations - 30 Day Notice

    Note: Letters should be placed on company letterhead.

    Date

    • Mr. John Smith
    • 123 Anywhere Street
    • Badboy, Nevada, 80111

    RE: Violation of Company Policy – 30 Day Notice

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    Over the past 6 months, you have received three written warnings regarding the use of company vehicles without permission (or insert the appropriate violation).

    Your supervisor, Bill Jones, has told us that at times, you feel it has been a necessary part of your job and to seek permission for the use of a company vehicle each time would deter your job performance.

    Unfortunately, the Company does not agree and all employees who are allowed to drive company vehicles must abide by the Company’s policy. In addition, you have failed to work with your supervisor Bill Jones on the assigned improvement plan.

    Because we feel you have ignored three written warnings regarding this policy, and have ignored the suggested improvement plan, if any additional violations of the Company’s vehicle policy occur within the next 30 days, the Company feels it has no choice but to terminate the employee/employer relationship.

    Your supervisor will closely follow your actions in the next 30 days and report directly to his supervisor, Donna Justice. Please keep in mind that even one violation will result in immediate termination. Upon the end of the 30 days, if no violations of the company’s vehicle policy have been made, your supervisor will report the situation to me personally and a decision will be made on whether to extend you any additional time to work on abiding by the policy or if the employee/employer relationship will be ended.

    We have enclosed two letters herein and request you keep one copy for your records, sign the other and return it to your supervisor as soon as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Henry Hope

    HR Manager

    Cc: Bill Jones / Donna Justice / Employee File

    Enc: Duplicate Copy of Letter

    Note: It’s best to hand deliver the letter so the employee has a chance to sign the additional copy and the signed copy can be inserted into the employee’s file.

    Image Credit (Freedigitalphotos)

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    Legal Aspects

    Keep Legal Aspects In Mind The importance of utilizing both written warnings, employee discipline letters and improvement plans are a great way to document and monitor any employee’s progress on company policy violations. It’s key to keep any and all documents given to the employee (signed or unsigned) in the employee’s personnel file.

    Because employment laws vary from state to state, it’s best to seek the advice of your HR department on the contents of employee discipline letter or a labor law attorney to ensure you are following the legal policies of your state; this can help you avoid an employee lawsuit.

    Image Credit (Freedigitalphotos)

Managing Employee Disciplinary Procedures

Although most consider it a dread task, it's important to manage employee disciplinary issues and to document any actions taken. Learn how to do this more effectively with this series of articles.
  1. Disciplinary Actions for Employee Behavior: What Are Your Options?
  2. Tips for Handling Employee Disciplinary Procedures
  3. Sample Forms for Disciplinary Action
  4. Documenting Disciplinary Actions: Sample Employee Letters
  5. Tips for Keeping a Record of Employee Disciplinary Acts