Everything You Need to Know about a Warning Letter


It is a widely accepted norm that most entrepreneurs rely on their employees to perform their duties and responsibilities to the best of their abilities. However, since they are all humans, there are some instances that they violate the rules and regulations set by the company. In some situations, these violations are unintentional and forgivable while other times you just need to stand firm on the ground and enforce a disciplinary action to set them back on the right track.

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Reprimanding an employee about his misbehavior or poor performance is not always an easy task. However, the majority of the companies have a policy on the process of imposing a disciplinary action on their employees that the HR department need to follow. Commonly, the HR manager will call the attention of the employee and will verbally warn him or her about the issue. However, if the employee continues to misbehave or fails to comply with the company policy, then the warning will escalate to a written warning. Issuing a company warning letter is considered to be the best HR practice no matter what policy violation the employee has committed.

What is a Warning Letter

A warning letter, which is also considered as an HR warning letter, is a formal cautionary document that is sent by the HR manager to the employee to inform him or her of misconduct and details of consequences that come if the employee fails to change his or her ways. While a warning letter informs the employee about his misbehavior and negative traits at the workplace, it is important to keep it at a professional level in order not to offend the employee.

One of the main purposes for writing a warning letter to is let correct the action of the employee. And since a warning letter is part of the disciplinary process, you provide the said employee with a chance to become better and be a productive and efficient part of the whole organization. Even if you are an HR issuing a warning letter is probably the last thing that you want to do.

Before you issue a warning letter to an erring employer, it is important to observe the following considerations:

  • Have a backup documentation about the employee’s attendance records and performance reviews before issuing a written warning
  • A written notice of meeting should be given to the erring employer to review and evaluate his or her conduct or performance
  • The employee is allowed to bring a support person during the scheduled meeting
  • Provide the employee with an opportunity to respond and explain the allegations of misconduct/misbehavior or poor performance against him or her
  • Record everything that had happened during the meeting, including the response of the employee to the allegations of misconduct and poor performance
  • The employer should consider reasons of the employee before reaching a decision on what he or she thinks to be the proper conclusions about the conduct of the employee.

Does writing an employee warning letter sounds difficult? Sure, it does sometimes, that is why a lot of people choose to download a job warning letter instead.

Warning Letter Essentials

Let us face it, a warning letter can be something that is scary to receive. However, it is the company’s way of helping the employee transform into a valuable asset, but it can also be a tool to discharge or terminate his or her employment contract with the company. In today’s sue happy society, issuing a warning letter can be a tool that can protect your company or organization from a potential lawsuit.

When it comes to writing a warning letter, it is important to avoid randomness. The warning letter should contain accurate information, along with detailed descriptions of the conduct or performance that has been raised. In order to write an effective warning letter, it is important that you know what significant elements to include in the document.

Although there are various types of a warning letter, it is crucial to always consider it as a form of a formal letter. With that being said, you must know and follow the proper format of a warning letter, regardless of its nature and purpose. In this section, we will provide you with the key components that must be included in the warning letter.

  • Name of the Employee — The letter should be addressed to the erring employee. It should be the full name of the employee and make sure to address the employee with either Mr. or Miss.
  • Date — Make sure to write the correct date the letter was written and sent.
  • Content — The content should provide the reason(s) for issuing a warning letter to the employee. Make sure to keep this section short and direct. Although no employee wants to receive a warning letter, he or she certainly do not want to read something that unclear and vague, as it would only result in confusion why he or she has received a warning letter.
  • Nature of the Company Violation — This section should clearly specify the violation(s) committed by the employee. Make sure that you have sufficient backup documents to support the allegation(s)
  • Date, Time, and Location — This section should provide an accurate date and time, as well as the location that the violation took place.
  • Remedies — This is the part where the employee writes down the necessary action that would prevent him from doing the same mistake(s) over again.
  • Signature of the Supervisor — This section should bear the signature of the immediate head or supervisor of the employee. The document should be signed with a black or blue pen.

Things to Keep in Mind

We all understand that when writing a letter of warning to an employee, you have to be sensitive yet maintain a professional tone. So if you are tasked to write a warning letter, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.

  • You have to make sure that you have sufficient grounds to issue an employee a warning letter due to improper conduct and poor performance. It should show the recipient that the company is concerned about his or her actions, as well as provide a detailed description that made the actions unacceptable and how the employee has violated the company standards and agreements.
  • Make sure that your warning letter does not sermon the employee like a frustrated parent. Instead of sounding like an annoying tirade, make sure to write down the corrective measures that the employee needs to comply to ensure that he or she can realize the violation that has been made and how he or she can improve in accordance with the standards set by the organization.
  • A professional warning letter should also include disciplinary actions in case the employee fails to follow the corrective actions provided by the company.
  • You can also provide an attachment of the employee’s attendance records (in case of tardiness and/or absences) or performance review (in case of poor performance or productivity) as pieces of evidence of the allegations that have been made against him or her.

Different Type of Company Warning Letters

Employee Behavior Warning Letter

Commonly, this type of company warning letter is given to an employee has:

  • Showed misconduct or misbehaved in the office, which has affected the company operation or caused a disturbance to other employees.
  • When the employee has disrespected a customer or client that resulted in the loss of sale or complaint against the company.
  • When the employee has committed an act of insubordination against his immediate head, manager, or supervisor.

Employee Absence Warning Letter

An employee absence warning letter is often issued by the HR manager to the employee when the latter has shown absenteeism for a specific duration of time. Here are the following grounds for issuing an employee absence warning letter:

  • Invalid reason or no reason for absences
  • When the employee has exceeded the limited number of absences allowed by the company
  • When the number of absences of the employee has affected the overall production of the business and resulted in low productivity

Employee Poor Performance Warning Letter

An employee is expected to perform well in his or her duties and responsibilities, as well as reach the daily or weekly quotas required by the company. In the event when a certain employee failed to function well in his or her job and has miserably failed in achieving the required quota for consecutive days, then the employee may be given a warning letter about his or her work performance. The following are grounds for an employee poor performance warning letter:

  • When the employee is unable to perform well the functions of his or her professional position
  • When the employee fails to deliver the required level of productivity set by the company
  • When he or she fails the performance review

First Warning Letter

As what it implies, a first warning letter can be considered as the initial warning issued by the HR manager. It initially informs the erring employee of the employment infractions that he or she has violated. It should also state the corrective actions to be followed by the employee to prevent any further disciplinary actions.

Final Warning Letter

When the employee has received the first warning letter from the HR manager, he or she will be given a period of time to comply with the corrective actions for improvement. However, if the employee ignores the corrective actions given by the company and continues to commit the same violation over and over again, then the HR manager will have to issue a final warning letter to the employee.

Tips for Writing a Warning Letter to an Employee

  • Before writing an employee warning letter, make sure that you have carefully considered all the preliminary reasons by reviewing the attendance and performance report of the employee.
  • After the evaluation, make sure to include in your letter what are your expectations from the employee, such as hearing their response and the corrective actions that he or she should take to avoid committing the violation.
  • It is also important to clearly state the actions you have to take in case he or she fails to comply with the corrective actions, as well as the consequences.
  • Make sure to provide a conclusion in the warning letter to make it compact and meaningful.
  • You should always observe professionalism and avoid using any strong languages in writing a warning letter.

Sample Warning Letter Templates that You Can Download and Use as References

Writing a warning letter can be often times a daunting and challenging task. That is why we are here to make your life easier. Check out and download the following templates that we have provided below.

Sample Letter Written Warning Template Free Download

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Company Warning Letter to Employee

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Warning Letter for Professional Misconduct

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Warning Letter For Poor Performance

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Final Business Warning Letter Template

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Employee First Warning

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Official Staff Warning Letter Template

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Construction Safety Warning Letter Template

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Professional Warning Letter to Employee

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Warning Letter for Absence

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Formal Written Warning Discipline Notice

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HR Warning Letter Template

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Student Conduct Warning Letter

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Professional Written Warning Letter Template

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Warning Letter for Safety Non-Compliance

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Warning Letter to Business Partner Template

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Business Warning Letter in PDF

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Sample Sales Staff Warning Letter

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Employee First Warning Notice Format

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Work Performance Warning Letter Template

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Early Warning Notice Template

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Tenant Late Rent Warning Letter Template

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Final Warning Letter before Termination

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Unprofessional Behavior Warning Letter Example

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Work Delay Warning Letter Template

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Final Warning Letter for Payment

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Sales Staff Warning Letter Example

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Small Business Warning Letter Template

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Final Thoughts

Every company has potentially a problematic employee who does not adhere or observe the company policy. With the help of a disciplinary letter, you can control erring employees from deviating away and set them back on the right track. You may also want to check out and download our professional warning letter templates and use them as your reference in writing one for your company. So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of our free downloads!

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