Document Employee Reprimands | Letter-Writing Guide


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.


1. Tell why the employee was reprimanded.

  • 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
  • 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

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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

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