How Do You Write a Disciplinary Warning Letter to an Employee?

A disciplinary warning letter to an employee includes a specific explanation of the unacceptable behavior, how the employee needs to change his behavior and what happens if the employee fails to meet the expected changes. The letter serves as documentation of behavior problems.

An employee disciplinary letter must be specific and to the point. The opening paragraph typically alerts the employee to the purpose of the letter. After listing the infraction, the letter explains why the behavior is unacceptable and how it affects the company. If the employee fails to protect private information, the letter might indicate the actions break the company's confidentiality policy and puts client information at risk. This section also includes specific incidents or reminders about previous written or verbal warnings about the issue.

The section that discusses correcting the problem needs to include specific expectations and steps to improve performance. This includes mentoring or additional training related to the problem. A timeline for resolving the performance issues also goes in this section.

The letter also needs a summary of what happens if the employee doesn't improve. This includes additional disciplinary action, retraining or termination from the position. Knowing the potential consequences often helps the employee take the letter seriously.

The employee receives a copy of the letter. Another copy goes into his employee file. Some companies ask the employee to sign the letter to acknowledge receiving it.