How To Use An Employee Written Warning Form (And A Free Template!)
Whether you like it or not, discipline is a necessary part of every manager’s ...
In an ideal world, all your employees would be perfect employees. They’d be skilled at their job, get along well with you and each other, and always behave in a professional manner. But this is not an ideal world. Now and again, an employee is going to do something that violates a policy established in your business handbook. Maybe it’s too many no-call, no-shows. Maybe it’s a conflict between two employees. Maybe it’s a conflict between a customer and an employee. Whatever the violation, when it happens, disciplinary action is required. That’s where the disciplinary action form becomes important.
In this article, the experts at Sling will tell you everything you need to know about this important piece of business paperwork. Along the way, we’ll answer such questions as:
We’ll also give you step-by-step instructions for filling out a disciplinary action form so you’ll be ready when the need arises. We’ve even included a free disciplinary action form template at the end of this article that you can use as you see fit. Before we get to that, though, let’s start with the most basic question as it pertains to this subject: What is a disciplinary action form?
A disciplinary action form is designed to be used to inform an employee that he or she has violated a policy or expectation established by his employer. The form can be used as a simple warning or to indicate that some form of punishment will be administered. The main purpose of the disciplinary action form is to help the employee understand that his or her behavior (whatever it may be) is not appropriate and that a change needs to be made.
Depending on the infraction, your first warning may have been a verbal reprimand of some sort. But if the infraction is serious enough, or if a less-serious infraction occurs again, it’s a good idea to fill out a disciplinary action form. Why is a form necessary? Because:
In both of these cases, relying on your memory is unwise and can even cause more problems. After one verbal warning, or right away it the violation is serious enough, document everything in writing and present it to the employee. This helps him begin to see the importance of changing his behavior. It also covers you both within the business chain of command and legally should said employee decide to protest the discipline.
Now that we’ve defined the disciplinary action form and highlighted the importance of using one, let’s focus on the specific information that should be included.
Every disciplinary action form should have these basic section in this general order:
Other sections can be added as necessary, but these eight sections should always be present. You use them to establish the who, what, where, and when of the violation along with a brief history of the employee’s behavior. Also included in these basic sections is the judicial decision dolled out and the verification that the employee received the information.
In this section, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide to filling out a disciplinary action form. One important thing to remember as you fill in the information is to always keep the language professional. Informal language can cause the employee to take offense and can even be used against you later on if legal proceedings ensue.
Please note, we are giving these instructions as they pertain to the disciplinary action form template included at the end of this article. Specific instructions for your form may differ. Also, it’s important to fill in all blanks with an indication that you haven’t forgotten this information. For example, if your business doesn’t have departments, you should write “N/A” (not applicable), or put a dash in the blank to show that you weren’t negligent in filling out the form.
Now, here are the instructions.
The final step in this process is to submit the disciplinary action form to the appropriate person or department within your business. If you send the form to another person, make a copy for your own records.
Based on the information and instructions above, we have included a disciplinary action form template below to use in whatever manner you see fit. Use it exactly as is. Change a few words here and there. Change it completely until all that’s left is the formatting. Or use it as a starting point to produce your own disciplinary action form. Whatever you need to do to make your work life easier. That’s what Sling is here to do.
Employee: __ Date Notice Given: __
Department: ___ Supervisor/Manager: __
Attendance Language Disobedience Safety Arguing Tardiness
Work Quality Other: ___
Date of Violation: __ Time of Violation: ___
Location of Violation: __
Decision Approved by: _ Title: _ Date: _
1st Warning – Date: _ Type (circle one): Verbal Written
2nd Warning – Date: _ Type (circle one): Verbal Written
3rd Warning – Date: _ Type (circle one): Verbal Written
4th Warning – Date: _ Type (circle one): Verbal Written
“I have explained all information regarding the employment violation and have provided the employee with a copy of the disciplinary action form.”
Employer’s Signature: __ Date: ___
Print Name: __ Title: ___
“I have read this disciplinary action notice and understand its contents. I also understand that this disciplinary action notice will be kept in my employee file indefinitely. I have received a copy of this disciplinary action notice.”
Employee’s Signature: _ Date: ___
Print Name: __ Title: ___