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Warning letter to employee

Region: Ontario Answer # 0305

What is the purpose of a warning letter ?

A warning letter given to an employee is a formal record of an infraction, wrongdoing, or problem with the employee’s execution of his or her duties. In most cases, small problems can be addressed directly with an employee in-person. In these circumstances, the employer should make a note regarding the discussion in the employee’s file in case the problem persists.

If the situation persists or if the problem is more serious, then it is in the best interests of the employer to set this out in a warning letter to the employee. Putting things in writing show the employee the seriousness of the situation, give a more accurate account of the problem, and allow the employee an opportunity to discuss the problem in order to remedy it.

What information is included in a warning letter ?

A warning letter will include several factors, such as:

  • the name and title of the employee
  • details of the infraction, including previous warnings or discussions about the problem
  • the date or time-period when the problem began or occurred
  • a proposal on how to rectify the problem
  • the consequences to the employee should the problem not be rectified

It is a good idea to include an acknowledgement from the employee that he or she has had an opportunity to discuss the problem with the employer and understands the consequences if the behaviour is not rectified. This is often accomplished by having the employee sign an acknowledgement.

More info

For more information about employment issues, refer to the Employment Law section of Legal Line.

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