35+ Sample Warning Letters

  • Letter Confirming Verbal Warning
    Letter Confirming Verbal Warning
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  • What Is a Warning Letter?

    A warning letter serves as a written cautionary document made by the manager or HR to an employee who has committed misconduct. The letter will likely state what the employee has committed and the underlying consequences if he or she continues to commit the wrongdoing. And thanks to warning letters, there is a standard disciplinary action plan at an organization rather than just allowing rulebreakers to do wrong.

    A Job Thing reported that a misconduct warning letter consists of nine components—recipient’s address, date, subject line, salutation, introduction, body, final paragraph, closing, and the name and signature.

    The Formal Structure of a Warning Letter

    Since warning letters are official documents commonly attributed to the workplace, it is only natural there is a formal structure on what to input in the letter. Standard guidelines suggest that professional warning letters consist of nine components. And they are the following:

    Recipient’s Address: The sender and the recipient’s details are important from the name, address, and contact info. That way, it will be easy to identify who sent and received the warning letter.Date: Write the complete date of when the warning letter was made. This part clears up if the warning’s schedule is already old or new.Subject Line: The title ‘Warning Letter’ should be very clear on the subject. That way, the document won’t be mistaken as any other form of a letter.Salutation: Writing letters should be cordial. Hence, add a salutation to formally address the recipient.Introduction: An introductory statement is necessary as your opening paragraph. Be direct by stating what the letter’s point is by stating the problem, the reason for issuing a warning, and even the type of warning if it is still the first, second, or final warning.Body: Further explanation or the meat of the warning letter will be directed into the body. This part contains the explanation of why the problem is wrong, how to correct the issue, and the need to monitor for an improvement.Final Paragraph: The recommended disciplinary action shall be stated in the final paragraph. State the rules and regulations from employment termination, protection against liabilities, legal disputes, etc.Closing: The conclusion and what follows right after the final paragraph is the official closing statement. End the letter with a positive tone like encouraging the employee to fix his or her performance and state why they are important to the company.Name and Signature: To prove that the letter is written and carefully made, the sender should insert his or her name and signature. Affixing one’s signature is basically how you end a letter anyway.

    How to Create a Warning Letter

    Making a warning letter isn’t complicated. In fact, you can easily craft them using the sample warning letters showcased above this article. Everything is premade so your only concern is to polish and insert your preferred details. But to ensure your warning letter is effectively made, don’t forget to apply these steps:

    Step 1: Review the Problem and What Happened Meticulously

    An investigation is crucial before sending a warning letter. First things first, is the problem related to an employee’s attendance, performance, or behavior? Be specific. And what backing evidence do you have that proves an employee actually committed misconduct? Note it down. Talking with the person involved and the witnesses are also recommended for clarification.

    Step 2: Be Objective in Writing the Details

    Begin drafting your warning letter by writing about the details freely first. Don’t worry about the format, sequence of events, and organization yet because you will do that after the draft. Also, be objective no matter what. Even if you find the employee valuable or if you are close with the person involved, don’t be biased. Call them out so they shall improve next time. Warning letters are not supposed to threaten anyway because you can be friendly in warning them.

    Step 3: Set the Warning Letter’s Structure

    Can you still remember the formal structure of a warning letter, as previously discussed? Ensure that you have those in your warning letter to complete the document. Each component there is also another way to divide your details. Hence, you can begin formatting and organizing your details now. A tip is to come up with an easy-to-follow structure so whoever reads the letter gets the gist pronto.

    Step 4: Finalize All Information and Format

    Lastly, decide the final touches from the information and format. For example, review if the spelling, words, and details are correct before actually sending it. Proofreading is key. And for the format, how do you want your warning letter to be? Do you want it printed or sent as an email only? Submit the letter only when you are satisfied with the result.


    When should you give a warning letter?

    A warning letter is appropriately given if you have already considered a verbal warning yet the person involved still committed the same mistake. Also, you can send it anytime an employee should be warned about something. But for serious offenses, warning letters are imperative.

    What are the common reasons that lead to being given a warning letter?

    In the workplace, warning letters are necessary if an employee committed the following reasons:

    • Failure to meet the job obligations
    • Excessive number of late or absence
    • Confidentiality policy breach
    • Health and safety policy breach
    • Alcohol and drug policy breach
    • Theft
    • Threatening co-workers

    Is a warning letter necessary?

    Warning letters are necessary when you want to implement disciplinary action towards your business. Issuing warning letters is even a standard HR practice and it will help lessen legal risks, particularly in terminating or firing an employee.

    Implementing warning letters is important in any organization to monitor every member’s performance and behavior accordingly. It is wrong to have a team that is undisciplined and unproductive in the first place. Hence, warning letters give a wake-up call to the concerned employees that there will be actual consequences for their unacceptable behavior or conduct. Start disciplining everyone by downloading sample warning letters now!