Reprimand an Employee For a Breach of Policy • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


Be brief and to the point. Do not make generalizations about the employee or his or her character, and avoid insulting language. The implied seriousness of the violation will generally be sufficient to get the employee's attention. Also see "Document employee reprimands."

How to write this reprimand letter:

  1. Tell the employee what policy he or she has violated. Include any necessary facts as evidence.
  2. Inform the employee of any action to be taken, or what he or she can do to rectify the situation.
  3. Close with an expression of confidence that the employee will rectify the situation.

Example Letter #1


Our employee manual clearly states that salaries are private matters between department heads and the employees. It is a gross violation of company policy for any employee to attempt by any means to determine what another employee earns.

Yesterday afternoon, John Doe caught you looking through the company payroll. Doe Corporation will not tolerate such behavior. If you do it again, or if we have evidence that you have divulged any information that you may have seen, we will terminate your employment.

I am sure you understand the gravity of this violation and I trust you will steer clear of the payroll office from now on.

Example Letter #2


As you are aware, Doe & Associates is unwilling to reimburse associates for personal dining expenses. You have claimed $58.11 as a business dining cost for February 3, 2018, yet there was no authorized dining that day.

Please consider this a warning. The firm will not reimburse you for this cost nor will it reimburse you for any such future unauthorized dining expenses. Please discontinue your practice of claiming personal dining expenses as business costs.

Example Letter #3


Your unauthorized and undocumented use of company truck #6 is a direct breach of company motor pool policy. I ask that you make no further unauthorized use of motor pool vehicles. Another such breach of company policy may result in your dismissal. You will be given and asked to sign an official letter of reprimand, which will be placed in your personnel file for at least one year. If no further infractions of the company policy are committed, this letter will be removed from your file after one year. I trust that this will be the end of this matter.

Example Letter #4


This letter serves as notice to all employees concerning the seriousness of disregarding the company smoking policy. We have made clear in the past that employees are not to smoke in company vehicles or at job sites. However, it has come to our attention that many employees are not abiding by these rules. All employees are hereby notified that failure to abide by this policy will result in termination of employment. We hope that this clears up any misunderstandings there may have been, and that this will not be a problem in the future.

Example Letter #5


I must inform you that I have received complaints about you from some of the female employees in your office regarding what they have perceived to be sexist remarks and jokes that belittle women. I believe that this is simply a matter of poor judgment on your part; nevertheless, I am sure you understand the seriousness of these complaints.

I would like to meet with you to discuss this matter, so that you may better understand the type of language and humor that others may find offensive. Although I am sure that you did not intend to offend, similar complaints in the future could jeopardize your employment with the Doe Corporation. Please come to my office tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. so that we may discuss this matter further.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Tell the employee what policy he or she has violated. Include any necessary facts as evidence.

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • After reviewing your last three expense reports, I have found that you have claimed $50 more than the prescribed amount for subsistence.
  • It has recently come to our attention that you have been making an average of three lengthy long-distance calls per week. We have determined that these calls are not to clients.
  • I have received several complaints that you have been parking in other employee parking spots.
  • As a sales representative, you are not authorized to promise any software upgrades until Development has declared in writing that they will include such improvements in the next release. Three of our clients have informed that you have been promising such upgrades.
  • According to security tapes, for the last three Saturdays you have entered the building at approximately 7:30 p.m., and left at 9:00 p.m. What concerns us is that during those times, several classified accounts have been logged onto and altered.
  • It has come to my attention that you have added your son to your part-time payroll in direct violation of our nepotism policy.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • according to your contract
  • after reviewing your
  • are not authorized to
  • as you are aware
  • breach of company policy
  • consult your Employee Handbook
  • contrary to our policy of
  • contrary to our agreement
  • has been designated as
  • has come to our attention that
  • has now happened several times
  • have received complaints about
  • have firm policy on
  • in direct violation of
  • in contravention of
  • is company policy to
  • is a prescribed amount for
  • made it quite clear that
  • must bring to your attention
  • our liability insurance does not cover
  • spelled out in the
  • must refer such questions

2 Inform the employee of any action to be taken, or what he or she can do to rectify the situation.

Sample Sentences for Step 2
  • Please park in your assigned parking spot. If you continue to park in spots other than your own, we will suspend your parking privileges.
  • For the next sixty days you will be required to have the switchboard make any long distance calls for you.
  • I ask that you promptly pay for any personal copies you make so there will be no doubt about whether you are abusing company privileges.
  • Your travel privileges will be suspended for the next two weeks so we will have time to ascertain whether we need to raise the subsistence allowance.
  • Please cooperate in any way you can as we study this situation. A copy of this letter will become part of your permanent file.
  • We ask that from now on your wife call you from the lobby when she comes to pick you up. Our liability insurance will not cover employees' family members in the shop.
  • Please meet with us on Tuesday, May 3, so we can discuss this problem and determine whether we need to take further action. Until that time we ask that you be in the office only during normal work hours.
  • Unless there are extenuating circumstances that override company policy, be aware that such behavior requires immediate dismissal.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
  • a written explanation of
  • any further information
  • are sure that we can work this out
  • are sure that this is just a misunderstanding
  • ask for your cooperation
  • can have far-reaching consequences, so please
  • determine whether further action needs to be taken
  • in the future kindly
  • make a satisfactory arrangement
  • make other arrangements
  • must request that you
  • need to discuss this problem
  • please supply us with
  • please make an effort to
  • please meet with us on
  • possible extenuating circumstances
  • request that in the future you
  • risk suspension of
  • this abuse of privilege must stop immediately
  • will require you to
  • will suspend you for
  • would like to sort this out quickly

3 Close with an expression of confidence that the employee will rectify the situation.

Sample Sentences for Step 3
  • I trust you will abide by the terms of this suspension. If you have any questions, please call me.
  • We trust that you will cooperate with this investigation.
  • If you have questions, please direct them to Jane Doe.
  • I do hope that this letter will ensure the end of this situation.
  • I will greatly appreciate your immediate attention to this matter.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
  • abide by the terms of
  • abide by company policy in this important matter
  • appreciate your cooperation in
  • are sure that we can work this out
  • are sure that this is just a misunderstanding
  • are confident that
  • have no doubt that
  • have every confidence in your
  • if you have any questions
  • is a difficult situation
  • is an uncomfortable situation
  • please direct any questions to
  • please call me if
  • situation will not recur
  • sort this out as quickly as possible
  • that this will be the end of the matter
  • trust that you will
  • will greatly appreciate
  • would like to get this sorted out
  • your immediate attention to