Employee Warning Notice

Addressing and managing an employee’s behavior through an employee warning notice is a great way to take disciplinary action against inappropriate conduct.

As an employer or a company, you are saddled with the responsibility of maintaining a stable and efficient working space for your employees. Therefore, circumstances that may want to interfere with this must be tackled immediately through a written warning and not a verbal one.

With this article, you can take a bold step to address unwanted behaviors by learning how to write a basic employee warning letter in the samples provided.

Table of Contents

Meaning of Employee Warning Notice

A warning letter is a formal notice given by a person in authority to an employee for negative behaviors that may likely affect the progress or the stability of the company.

A warning letter may be issued to an employee for violating company rules, a client for breach of contract, a homeowner or tenant for violating society rules, or a consumer for unpaid dues. 

In all of these cases, the warning letter serves as the second step after a verbal warning in resolving a conflict and is usually followed by disciplinary action if the letter is ignored.

Having an employee handbook under your HR policies including information on what constitutes the company’s infraction is vital. This can be used as a reference point when writing a warning later.

A warning letter format in the professional context is straightforward, brief, and to the point. The specific bad behavior must be clear from the start to avoid misinterpretation.

It must be brief because, as the name implies, a warning letter rarely includes any binding disciplinary action.

It may, however, make clear to the employee the potential consequences if the action is repeated.

Because, despite its negative connotation, a warning letter to an employee is always issued with the intention of assisting that employee, both professionally and personally, and thus ensuring the smooth operation of the company.

Types of Employee Warning Noice

There are basically two types of warning notices, they can either be

  • A Verbal warning notice or
  • A written warning notice

The written warning always proceeds with a verbal warning notice. When inappropriate conduct is observed, the first step to take is to make a verbal notice first. 

These are the steps to take in writing a warning notice when an employee has refused to adhere to a verbal warning.

Tips to Follow When Writing an employee warning notice 

In order to write a successful warning notice, here are some tips to follow.

  • Issue a verbal warning first, if there is no improvement, a notice should follow
  • Clearly describe offenses. When warning employees about their behavior or performance, be firm and clear.
  • To make it more elaborate, including the event’s date, time, and exact description.
  • Inform them of the consequences if the problem is not resolved. 
  • Always make conclusions with a positive statement, making it clear that you want them to succeed. 
  • Also, express that the company’s goal is to improve their relationship with the employee and chances for mutual success. 

Content of a Typical Warning Notice

  • Company’s name
  • Name of employee and job title
  • Representation of  an HR representative
  • Date of issuance
  • Introductory statement
  • Infractions incurred by the employee
  • The date it occurred 
  • Consequences that follow failure to correct infractions
  • HR representative signature and date
  • Acknowledgment statement by Employee
  • Employee signature and date

Samples of a Warning Notice

An employee warning notice can come in the form of a letter or a mail sent to the employee in question.

The format for an email is quite different from that of an email. When showing the samples we will identify the differences.

A physical letter is prepared using the sample below. 

Sample 1.0


To: [input Employee Name]


Date: ___________________

This First Written Warning is being sent to you as a result of the issue(s) described below. Please be aware that this is the first step in the progressive discipline process at [Name of Company]. We are confident that you will correct this situation by improving your job performance and/or refraining from the act or omission that has resulted in this First Warning Notice. Failure to make appropriate corrections will result in additional discipline, including discharge.


  • Poor Work Performance
  • Safety Violation
  • Tardiness
  • Substance Use or Abuse
  • Failure to Comply with Company Policy
  • Insubordination
  • Refusal to Work Overtime
  • Absenteeism
  • Property Damage
  • Abuse of Leave
  • Misuse of Email or Telephone
  • Improper Conduct

Other _______________________________________________________

Date, Time and Location of Infraction ______________________________________________


You must follow the Performance Improvement Plan that is attached (check if applicable)

Manager’s Name: _________________________


Supervisor/Manager’s Signature

Date: __________________

Employee Response

Employee’s Name:                                                            __________________

I acknowledge that I have received a copy of the foregoing First Written Warning and that I have had an opportunity to discuss it with my supervisor or a designated manager.


Employee’s Signature


Notice that the sample above contains all the content mentioned already. Starting from the company’s name which may come with the company’s letterhead, employee name, and others.

It also contains details like the type of infractions that the company has designed, those are basic infractions that can possibly affect an organization. As a company or organization, you can add more infractions depending on what you expect of your employees.

The final stage of the letter is where the employee is given an opportunity to either accept or reject having committed the infraction.

They are further submitted to the HR office waiting for an assigned meeting.

Below is also a pictorial representation of what a typically prepared letter of warning to an employee looks like.

Sample 1.1

Sample 1.2

Sample Employee Warning Notice (E-mail)

In place of a physical letter, an email can be sent, describing the infraction committed, the date and time, its possible effect, and the consequences that follow such action.

Here, the subject must be clear enough so it can ring to the employee that it is urgent.

Using an email, an employee is expected to respond accordingly, acknowledging such infractions. 

An employee can refuse to accept such infractions especially if there is no clear evidence that the employee performed such an infraction.

Sample 1.3

Sample 1.4

Subject: Malicious, vague, misconceived, false, and fabricated news item.


This is to bring to your kind notice that my clients the management of Address__________________________________has come across a news item pertaining to the managed by them situated at New Addrress____________________________________________________

Please be informed that our clients are a pious Organization.

The news item published on page number 8 in your news paper Dated ____________.

At the very outset, the aforesaid news item is patently false, misconceived frivolous full of lies, and malicious and libelous. Baseless allegations have been raised without any confirmation and no material particulars/sources of the same have been given. It is pertinent to mention that the same is being got published on the behest of the transferred employee._________________________.

You are hereby called upon to furnish material particulars of the allegations raised in the same news item within three days of the service of this notice and clarify the factual position in categorical terms otherwise I have clear instruction from my client to initiate appropriate legal proceedings against you and the concerned officials of yours purely at your risks, costs consequences, liabilities and responsibilities which you please may note.

The copy is kept for record.

Sincerely yours


 (Signature with Seal)


When should you write up an employee?

  • Absenteeism
  • Consistent Sub-Standard Work
  • Tardiness.
  • Illegal Behavior
  • Inappropriate Behavior toward Customers or Clients
  • Company Policy Violation
  • Insubordination

Can you skip a verbal warning?

This is determined by your employer’s disciplinary procedures policies. The number of verbal or written warnings given before a final warning or dismissal should be specified in your company’s disciplinary policies.

Do you have to sign a warning at work?

The answer is Yes. Typically, an employee is asked to sign the warning to confirm that he or she has been informed of the form’s contents. 

However, depending on the nature of the issue raised in the warning letter, the employee may refuse to sign it if the infractions made are false.

What should an Employee Warning Notice Form contain?

An employee warning notice, also known as a disciplinary write-up form, describes the problem, how the employee should correct their behavior, and what consequences will be imposed if they do not. 

Employee warning letters must be signed by the employee, the manager, and a witness, with a copy, kept in the employee’s personnel file.

Why should you use an Employee Written Warning Form?

Certain labor laws may compel you to provide detailed documentation of any disciplinary proceedings taken against an employee. In the event of employee termination, it is critical to have documented proof of the process.

What happens if an employee refuses to sign a warning letter?

If the employee disagrees with the information or believes it is invalid, he or she may refuse to sign it. If this is the case, a manager can write on the form that the “employee refused to sign” and explain why the employee was unhappy with the notice.


It is simple to fire an employee for poor performance, but this can be an expensive exercise for your company. Instead of putting pressure on an employee, you might try a more rehabilitative approach, such as issuing an employee warning notice or a performance improvement plan to assist them in meeting their goals.

Remember that you should also establish clear rules for your managers to follow in order to ensure that all employees are treated fairly. To avoid being accused of unfair treatment, later on, all managers must act consistently when carrying out disciplinary actions in order to comply with federal laws.

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