Document Employee Reprimands • Example Letters, Plus Guides and Samples
Your company's policies and practices may describe how you should document reprimands and corrective actions. Check with your human resource or legal department for guidance in handling these cases. In most cases you should first talk with the employee and then document the situation. Use specific language so there is no room for misunderstanding. Define the issue in broad enough terms that your explanation covers future challenges or equivocations. Have the employee sign the documentation to indicate that the issue was discussed. The letter then becomes part of your written record to justify future action if necessary.
How to write this reprimand letter:
- Tell why the employee was reprimanded.
- Describe the employee's reaction and/or responses
- Close by including any actions recommended or taken against the employee. If you have additional impressions or observations you feel are important, describe them briefly.
Example Letter #1
On March 6, 2018, Robert Johnson reprimanded Eric Doe in writing for excessive personal use of the telephone. Though Eric did not agree that his use of the phone was excessive, he did agree to limit his outgoing personal calls to two a day and to limit all personal calls to no more than five (5) minutes each. He expressed serious concern about his job and thanked Robert for speaking with him. Robert informed him that their conversation would be documented in his employee file.
Both parties have reviewed this document and agree that its contents fairly reflect their conversation.
Example Letter #2
On April 6, 2018, Jane Doe was reprimanded for smoking in the commons area during business hours. When asked if she was aware that smoking was only permitted outside, she responded, "I knew it, but I didn't feel like moving." I reminded Jane that the company policy is to suspend employees who violate the smoking rules twice. She said she understood.
Example Letter #3
Mr. Doe was reprimanded on March 19, 2018 for failure to document his personal use of a company truck. Mr. Doe has agreed unconditionally to request permission prior to any future personal use of the truck, and to document that use properly. He understands that this letter may become a permanent part of his personnel file. If no further infractions of the company policy are committed by Mr. Doe, this letter will be removed from his file after one year. Another undocumented personal use of a company vehicle, at any time, may result in Mr. Doe's dismissal.
Example Letter #4
This letter describes the action taken regarding complaints of sexual harassment against John Doe. Mr. Doe was notified by letter of the complaints, and he met with me April 12 for further discussion of the matter. We reviewed the specific nature of each complaint originating in the accounting department and carefully examined company policy on each issue. Mr. Doe was informed that his employment with Doe Corporation would be terminated if more substantiated complaints of this nature were received. He has agreed to attend classes given by the human resources department to help him be more aware of the types of behaviors that may be offensive to others.
Example Letter #5
On Thursday, May 20, I met with Jane Doe and discussed her frequent failure to begin her shift on time. This is the second warning she has received about this problem; she was also warned about her lateness March 17. Jane understands that a continuing pattern of arriving at work late will result in her dismissal, and she has agreed to be punctual from this day on.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 Tell why the employee was reprimanded.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- Ms. Doe was reprimanded on June 6, 2018, for insulting clients and using poor telephone etiquette.
- Officer Doe was officially reprimanded on March 14, for harassing a motorist he pulled over for late registration.
- Professor Doe was issued a warning on September 30, for making racist remarks in his three o'clock lab.
- John received a termination warning and was suspended for three days for making inappropriate sexual remarks to a female client. Attached is a copy of a letter documenting that he:
1. asked her on a date several times
2. made at least two overtly sexual remarks about her clothing and her physique
3. told her that if she did not consent to going out with him, her requests would be "trashe."
- On January 25, Ms. Doe was reprimanded for:
1. her contentious attitude, which makes working with her very difficult
2. her not following the office dress code
3. her taking extremely long lunches
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- a letter of reprimand
- a number of missed deadlines
- a contentious attitude, which
- after two verbal warnings
- after receiving a letter from
- complaints were as follows
- discussed the incident with
- for using insulting language
- frequent absences from
- had an interview with
- had a counseling session with
- has been placed in her personnel file
- have discussed the matter with
- have informed him of
- have sent a copy
- inappropriate behavior towards
- inappropriate sexual remarks
- it was found necessary to
- making racist remarks
- persistent failure to conform to
- persistent tardiness
- received an official reprimand for
- received complaints from
- unsatisfactory performance in the
- using company resources for
- was issued a warning on
- was suspended for
2 Describe the employee's reaction and/or responses
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- She said she has been feeling sick and that this sickness has led to her forgetting things occasionally.
- Professor Doe has agreed to apologize to Ms. Thompson and to allow her to take another test that he will prepare. The test is to be given during the last week of March.
- Mr. Doe says that this client was not telling the truth. He said no such things to her.
- Officer Doe said he was sorry for his comments and that he had made them in jest. Concerning his comments, he reports that "they were not racist in any way."
- Mrs. Doe said very little about the allegations. She simply shook her head and disagreed, but she did not offer her own perspective on the incident.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- admitted that he had been at fault in that he
- agreed that she had been
- apologized for the
- denied the allegation
- described the situation from his perspective
- did not offer his point of view
- explained that
- had misinterpreted the situation
- had been under a great deal of stress because
- had no intention of
- had no idea that
- had not intended that
- had lost her temper
- has written a letter of apology to
- has agreed to
- pointed out that
- said that there had been a misunderstanding
- said very little about
- she had been unable to
- situation had been misinterpreted
- was not aware that
3 Close by including any actions recommended or taken against the employee. If you have additional impressions or observations you feel are important, describe them briefly.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- Officer Doe seemed genuinely concerned about the situation. For that reason, I felt it sufficient to recommend that he not act the same way in similar situations.
- Prof. Doe agreed to keep such comments to himself in the future. I placed a letter of reprimand in his file, and he expressed his understanding that this letter could hamper his chances for tenure.
- I recommended that Ms. Doe apologize to those affected and that she take some time to straighten out her personal affairs so she could handle her duties properly.
- I informed Mr. Doe that I will withhold the bonus I had intended to give him. I set a deadline of 12 May for him to correct the situation or face termination.
- I told Mr. Doe that he needs to improve his production output by 25% in the next six weeks. He understands that if he does not reach that goal, we cannot continue to employ him.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- a failure to remedy the situation will
- agreed to apologize to
- agreed that she would
- any future repetition
- appears that she was not wholly at fault
- because of the serious nature of this infraction
- declared her understanding that
- expect that this will not recur
- expect that we will have no further episodes
- first incident of its kind
- no further action seems warranted
- placed the letter in his file
- promised that it will not happen again
- recommended that he
- seemed genuinely puzzled by
- seemed very concerned about
- set a deadline of
- the fact that this is not the first time
- the next incident will
- understands that a failure to improve will
- while this in no way excuses his
- will make proper arrangements for
- will result in termination