Why a Letter of Reprimand?
Even if your business is so small that it still largely operates on a handshake and the integrity behind the proprietor’s name, the employee letter of reprimand example download highlights how to protect the company against allegations of wrongful termination. It presents a framework that highlights coaching efforts and worker failures. On the flipside, it protects the worker against subjective action taken on the spur of the moment by a frustrated supervisor who may mistake ‘looking for an employee’ with the worker’s being late. In this manner, the letter of reprimand forces both sides to take stock.
Free Download: Example of an Employee Letter of Reprimand
Why the Written Reprimand Works
- The supervisor must identify the infraction that gives rise to the written reprimand by referring back to the employee handbook(1). If this is not possible, it should tip off the HR department to the possibility of an incomplete handbook that requires updating. This protects the company against lawsuits over a policy that is not clearly stated.
- Enumerate the occurrences of prior infractions similar to the one that is grounds for the letter or reprimand. If there is no paper trail in the employee’s personnel file, this is a good indicator that perhaps the letter of reprimand is premature. It may also hint toward the need to set up a tracking system. For example, if attendance is the problem, a free printable employee attendance form can be added to the HR forms library to help monitor late arrivals.
- The next two points outline the times that the undesirable behavior has been observed since and explains that it is not accepted within the company. This makes future claims of ambiguity with respect to policies and acceptable behavior difficult to bring by a terminated former worker.
- The last point refers back to the written policy, which must have been received by the employee previously. If a statement of acknowledgement is not in the worker’s file, the letter of reprimand is premature.
Is the Acknowledgement Needed?
In a word, yes. Counsel the worker that it is not necessary to agree with the reprimand; instead, the acknowledgement merely states that the worker has received a copy of the letter and understands that the original will be placed in the worker’s file. Offer the opportunity for the worker to write and file a letter of dispute, which will then be attached to the letter of reprimand and placed into the personnel file.
Recognize that the employee letter of reprimand example and download may need to be adapted to the specific needs of your business. Do not forget to enlist the help of an employment attorney to get help with potentially contentious matters that could result in lawsuits.
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This post is part of the series: Employee Disciplinary Actions
- Best Practices Regarding Employee Discipline
- Tips for Tracking Personnel Development
- Drafting an Employee Attendance Policy
- Guide to Drafting a Business Dress Code Policy
- Employee Letter of Reprimand: Free Example to Download