Guidelines : Reprimands
Guidelines and Alternate Phrases
- Overview the performance or attitude problem. Don’t hide a reprimand behind a trapping question. If the reader has committed an offense, say so. If you mean only to verify what you have been told or have assumed, ask for verification outright.
- Review favorable traits and contributions to the company if the employee has performed well in the past and if you want to continue the positive association.
- While we appreciate your thoroughness in your administrative tasks, your attendance record has been unacceptable.
- Jean, over the years we have counted on you as the backbone of our department–your expertise in the audit responsibilities has been invaluable–but we’ve noticed in the last year your performance in other areas has slipped. In fact, your attitude about assigned duties to be coordinated with other teams has been almost adversarial.
- We have appreciated your willingness to adapt to changes in the environment as Hyatt-Bleyl has expanded to new quarters. However, since the last move, we have noted….
- Try to minimize resentment by focusing on behavior and results or consequences rather than motives or intentions.
- Document specific details of the performance problem or serious event or circumstance that warrants the reprimand. Communicate exactly what performance, attitude, or decision you want corrected.
- Explain the seriousness of the poor performance. When possible and not already obvious, explain why the behavior, situation, or decision needs correction or why the policy or rule has been established. A “why” generally improves cooperation.
- This habit of leaving equipment unattended in the hallways has become a safety hazard.
- Your attitude has become a barrier to others of our staff when they must call on other departments for cooperation in meeting tight deadlines. In other words, our staffers get a lot of comments beginning with, “Well, Jack told us….”
- Even customers have commented on this situation when they have arrived in the lobby and found you absent from your desk.
- This failure in planning results in delays of up to three or four days when orders come in.
- Show confidence, if you can, that the situation will improve.
- You have always given your cooperation in similar situations, and we know we can count on you again to solve this problem.
- We appreciate your willingness to work toward a remedy of this situation.
- You have performed in a completely satisfactory way up to this point; we hope you will have no difficulty with this recent assignment.
- May we count on your support in correcting the problem?
- You have been conscientious about your jobs on other occasions, and we want to assume you have that same attitude about improving this situation.
- We hope you will decide to improve the situation.
- We hope you will decide to give us your cooperation in this matter.
- I, of course, expect the next audit of the manuals will show significant improvement.
- With the personal problems you mentioned to me earlier now behind you, I assume you’ll have no further cause for such lengthy absences.
- We feel we can count on your cooperation in correcting this problem.
- If you think there is need for further discussion on the details of this problem, please let me know immediately. We will be eager to help you remedy the situation.
- Thank you for your cooperation. We don’t expect any further difficulty on this issue.
- Thank you for your willingness to make these improvements. We look forward to a new attitude and a growing success rate.
- Document your complaints and past reprimands. On a second or third warning, recall past warnings and give notice of the next action if performance or attitude is not improved.
- Your immediate supervisor has counseled you previously about this problem, and we want to point out, therefore, that any recurrence will be cause for immediate dismissal.
- This is the second warning, John. If we do not see immediate improvement, we will be forced to terminate your employment with us.
- Any recurrence, Amy, will mean we must ask for your immediate resignation.
- We hope you agree these warnings should be sufficient: Any failure to attend classes regularly and upgrade your training in the future will be grounds for dismissal.
- The future is in your hands. You must bring your performance up to the acceptable level or you will be subject to discharge at the end of your probationary period.
- If we must bring this behavior to your attention again, you will be dismissed immediately.
- Your attitude problem must be corrected immediately and must remain acceptable over an extended period or your employment will be terminated.
- This is our second notice, and we hope our last before the situation turns around. A third warning will be immediate cause for dismissal.
- If I discover this situation again, we will be forced to terminate your employment.
- Should this problem recur, we will have to ask for your resignation.
- The decision is yours. We need to see a 20 percent increase in your output, or we will have to let you go.
- You will receive no further warnings about this performance. Our next action will be to terminate your employment here.
- Match your tone to the seriousness and frequency of the offense, getting firmer after a first warning: “I noted there’s a problem in that you…” to “This is the second warning about…” to “I must warn you any repetition of this situation will be cause for immediate dismissal.”
Example 1: Sample letters of reprimand
TO: Harold Springer
SUBJECT: Kitchen Requirements Planning
On August 9, you and I had a discussion about the need for you to schedule your workday each Friday so you could prepare the food and supplies requisition for the executives’ club kitchen for the upcoming week. Then you were to secure the items from the warehouse and store them in the kitchen or walk-in freezer for easy access during meal-preparation hours. To date, you have not been performing these duties as I outlined them for you.
This failure creates a serious problem in maintaining control over warehouse access and inventory. When the food and supplies are not handy on a daily basis, other employees feel free to enter the warehouse for these items without recording them on our inventory sheets. When this is the case, we cannot possibly maintain the proper inventory to keep the club operating efficiently or economically. Single items purchased on a last-minute basis are much too expensive.
In the future, you are to schedule, receive, and store all warehouse requirements for the coming week: for normal dining operations, for cocktail hours, and for special functions booked by the caterer.
If you have problems with these procedures or want to suggest alternative arrangements, please discuss the situation with Helen Dickerson or me immediately. Otherwise, I will assume you are going to begin to complete these tasks as detailed. We are eager to remedy the associated problems and want to count on your cooperation.
Example 2: Letter of reprimand example
Company Name or Letterhead
City, State Zip
City, State Zip
We greatly depend on your projections for each week’s work scheduled through your shop. Without knowledge of your staff’s work plans, the other departments are severely hampered in meeting their production quotas.
During the past few months, there has been a steady decline in your attendance at the weekly production meetings. On the mornings you have attended, you have frequently arrived late.
On two occasions, your attendance at the meeting was so vital we had to cancel the meeting rather than keep everyone waiting for your arrival and input. As you may realize, your absence, tardiness, or, of course, any resulting last-minute cancellation greatly inconveniences the other department heads in scheduling their work day.
From now on, I need you to confirm to me in writing each month that you plan to attend the meeting and you will be there promptly at 9:00 a.m.
Example 3: Reprimands
Company Name or Letterhead
City, State Zip
City, State Zip
As our company policy states, we do not accept advertising for “intercepting equipment” such as in the attached ad copy submitted to the artist yesterday. It is your responsibility, as well as that of all salespeople, to see the copy and make a judgment before accepting it from the customer.
Cable, microwave, and/or satellite interception is an invasion. You can refuse this kind of advertising without any explanation to the customer. (See the back of our frequency or bulk advertising contracts for the following refusal clause: “The publisher reserves the right to edit or reject any advertising placed under this contract.”)
We have discussed this kind of advertising, and I have returned copy to you on two other occasions during the past few months. Continued disregard of this company policy could result in serious consequences with regard to your employment.
I hope you’ll see the personal benefit in cooperating with us on this advertising policy.
Example 4: Reprimands letters
Company Name or Letterhead
City, State Zip
City, State Zip
Dear Mr. Montgomery:
We have noted on several past occasions you have been out of your assigned work area. On November 7, you were counseled individually, and also as part of a group in the monthly staff meetings, about this problem. You have been instructed to inform your supervisor of any changes in the routing of your work orders before you leave the office.
On January 27, one of our customer-contact clerks received a call from a customer informing us your vehicle #8488 was parked by her house at the railroad tracks on Hogan Street from 1:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Your progress report indicates you were in the Cypress area at 1:30 p.m. on this date.
On January 28, Robert Maxwell and I observed you on Terra Avenue at 3:00 p.m. Your progress report indicates you left a Forest Cove customer at 2:50 p.m. on this date.
We want to inform you that being out of your assigned work area and falsifying your progress reports will no longer be tolerated. In the future, if necessary, we will take severe disciplinary action, up to and including immediate discharge.
Your future here is in your hands. We hope you’ll decide to correct this problem without further action on our part.
Example 5: Example of Reprimands Letters
SUBJECT: Supervisory Approval on Change in Assigned Work
In the future, please be sure to get a supervisor’s approval before changing anyone’s job assignment.
Yesterday Jack Donne was sent without his supervisor’s approval to Bloomington’s on what I consider a routine, rather than emergency, errand. Such a situation undercuts authority and may create serious problems with the abandoned project assignment.
Example 6: Sample of reprisals letters
SUBJECT: Improper Safety Glasses
Metal-frame glasses are unacceptable for safety protection in our production area. I noticed you were not wearing the proper safety glasses yesterday, July 7, 19–, and I checked with Marvin Kincaide about the violation. He informed me on June 28 you were given a prescription form and a pair of goggles to wear over your metal frames until you received the proper safety glasses.
Please get the safety glasses within the next two weeks; until then, I ask that you wear the goggles issued to you.
This safety rule is for your own protection. If you are having a problem in getting the prescription filled, please let me know.
Example 7: Warning letter for violation of company policy
SUBJECT: Sick-Leave Restriction
This is to notify you that effective January 1, 19–, you must submit medical certification to support all absences due to illness. This restriction will remain in effect for at least six months and until further notice from me.
If your substantiated absences, medical or otherwise, exceed three days during this next six-month period, we will be forced to terminate your employment.
You are being placed under this restriction because an analysis of your attendance record indicates that some of your absences may have been unjustified. Your records show that you missed work on three Mondays and four Fridays during the last quarter: October 3, 14, 17, 24; November 4, 18; and December 2.
Example 8: Reprisals letters
SUBJECT: Meeting Report Deadlines
We notice that your last three projects have been completed after deadline. This is a serious problem because our clients rely on getting our reports in a timely manner. In fact, we nearly lost the Grayson account due to your late report.
In the past, you have consistently met your deadlines. I hope you can get back in that habit. Unfortunately, if one more project is late we will have to place you on a probationary status. If a project is late while you are on probation, we will have to terminate your employment.
Until further notice I will expect a written progress report from you every Friday. Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in completing your projects on time.
Example 9: Sample letter disciplinary action
SUBJECT: Proper Handling of Customer Complaints
On October 5, I heard you speaking to a customer in a surprising and unacceptable manner. Mr. Howard came to us upset over a perceived error on his invoice. Instead of speaking calmly and professionally, you participated in a shouting match with him in our front lobby, trading personal insults.
Regardless of whether a customer is right or wrong, polite or rude, we expect our staff to treat them with courtesy. Without satisfied customers, none of us would have jobs—customer satisfaction is our business.
I hope this case was an exception. Perhaps I caught you on a bad day. Please do not let this behavior happen again. One way you can signal your cooperation with us it to send a letter of apology to Mr. Howard (Please see attached card).
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