Warning Letter Format| Free Download

Download the free template for an employee warning letter from Pocket HRMS



The misconduct in the workplace should not be overlooked. Ignoring behaviour that is against the company policies can harm the company’s image over time. If lack of action against the undesired behaviour becomes the norm, then such behaviour escalates the situation as other staff members take it for granted.


The management can’t punish an employee for minor mistakes, and doing so will be inappropriate too. But you can have a to-the-point conversation with the employee. You can tell them that specific behaviour or performance is undesired; if the employee continues it, they might face disciplinary action.


A letter of the warning is issued to the employee if they don’t correct their action after the verbal warning. When you give an official warning letter to an employee, it is a formal note in their record and also more effective.



What is A warning letter?

A warning letter is a formal notice sent to an employee, making them aware of their misconduct and the consequences if they don’t correct their actions. You can not take disciplinary action without giving an employee a warning letter. The employee may object the management if they get punished without prior notice.


A warning letter to employees is crucial to record formal communication about the concerned issue. A warning letter to an employee also serves as proof that you warned the person. It is often a human resource department that issues a written warning to the employee on behalf of the company.



What ate the benefits of issuing employees a letter of warning?

  • The warning letters make it clear for the employees where exactly they are going wrong and what they can do about it.
  • It ensures that all the employees understand that the company takes discipline and policies seriously and encourages them to act accordingly.
  • A warning letter helps in creating documentation of the official communication and can be used for reference for future requirements.
  • When employee misconduct in the workplace gets neglected, it might set an impression for other team members that the management is favouring the person. The warning letter ensures that your staff knows that they are being treated fairly.
  • A warning letter gives both the employee and the company an opportunity to resolve the issue before it gets out of control.



How to Write an Employee Warning Letter?

An employee warning letter is a detailed letter explaining their misbehaviour, how that impacts the company and what can be possible consequences for the employee. It indicates that the concerned matter will not be taken lightly anymore.


An effective employee warning letter will make them correct the course of action. For that, it needs to be drafted carefully. Here are a few things that you should consider while writing a warning letter for employees.



Explain the Misconduct

As an HR, you are writing a letter of warning to the employee on behalf of management, it’s crucial to make the issue clear in the letter. Your warning letter should precisely pinpoint the employee’s problematic behaviour or lack of performance. When you issue the warning letter and what went wrong from the employee’s end is not made clear, it can cause confusion. The aim of the warning letter to employees is to motivate them to correct their behaviour with or without disciplinary action.


Ensure that the content of your letter to the employee talks about the specific event or the undesired behaviour so that they can take corrective action. You can also explain if you had to face some issues with discipline in the workplace or dissatisfaction from the customer due to the concerned issue.



Communicate the Policies

When it comes to taking disciplinary action against the employee for the breach of policy, you need to ensure that you communicate the guidelines first. It’s best to explain all the crucial policies during the induction. Furthermore, when you issue a warning about misconduct or a breach of policy, it will be best to explain the concerned policy again in your warning letters.


Doing so will not just inform and fetch the employee’s attention to the mistakes, but they will also be reminded of what is expected from them. That takes us to our next point.



Offer Solution

When you have made it evident to the employee that this is a serious issue and this letter of warning to them should not be taken lightly, it’s time to tell them how to rectify it. An official warning letter to the employee can be scary for them. And sometimes it is not clear to them that you are warning for the particular behaviour. It is right to pinpoint mistakes in a warning letter, but you should supplement it with the solution.


It is likely that the employee may be ready for a correction in their action but not sure what action to take. While writing a warning letter, you are supposed to tell the employee what is expected from them in the future. Efficient warning letters include the to-the-point solution in the content. It will save the employees valuable time, which they can utilize productively.



Potential Action

A warning letter to the employee for the misconduct or the lack of performance should also talk about what possible action. If the employee continues a similar type of behaviour in the future or lacks corrective action, you have to talk about the disciplinary action that will be taken. If you exclude this part of the letter in the warning, it might not have the desired impact.


A warning letter from company management should state the appropriate policies that will be used for further negligence. A warning letter for the employee should make it evidently clear what type of action is the company willing to take. The action can vary from the temporary suspension to the employee losing their job. To make sure that an employee does not take the warning lightly and does not accuse the management of taking disciplinary action without prior notice.




A warning letter is an official notification to the employee to ask them to correct their action. A written warning letter for the employee should also have the suggested time frame for the corrective actions. As warning letters can be issued for multiple purposes, the time frame given may vary according to the reason for the letter.


For example, when it comes to the complaint from the customer, employees may get time to prove why their accused action was appropriate or to submit proof to prove their innocence. Sometimes the timeframe that needs to be mentioned in warning letters is the time span of suspension that the management finds appropriate in response to the breach of the policy. Also, give a timeline for the expected corrective measures for the employee’s action.




A warning letter is not a minor event that employees face every day. Irrespective of how clear and detailed you have made your warning letters, the employee’s mind might be full of doubts and questions or a series of objections. It may be rare, but it is a possibility that the employee may deny admitting the said event in a warning letter is the fact. This often happens in cases of customer complaints or a case of misconduct in a workplace.


Remember that the warning letters are to ensure that the employee does what is expected of them and to protect the company’s image. Suppose you are aiming to encourage the employee to perform better as well as act according to the policies of the company and not accuse or punish them unnecessarily. In that case, you should stay open to communication.


The content of your warning letter to employees also gives them an opportunity to reach you to solve their doubts and present their side. If you do not provide the employees with the opportunities to present their side of the story to you, they are likely to feel that they are treated unfairly. If a warning letter gives them the opportunity to defend themselves or resolve their doubts, they are more likely to follow the procedure and correct the course of action.




The employee warning letter is an official communication and has to be in a format of a formal letter with a formal tone. You need to ensure that a warning letter should not come across as a letter of accusation. It should clearly state the issue and should not have any reference to the personal life of the employee.


The letter should avoid any type of exaggeration and avoid adopting an informal tone also. Especially when it comes to the letter of the waring, it’s crucial that the employee understands the gravity of the situation. If a warning letter is written in an informal tone, it can be easily neglected. If you have given them the verbal warning prior to the letter and seen how they did not act on it, an informal tone won’t serve a purpose. And in general, when it comes to important official communication, informal language or tone is not an appropriate choice.


Here are a few quick tips to make your employee warning letter more effective.

  • The official warning letters are to be printed on the company’s letterhead.
  • It’s better to arrange a one-to-one meeting with the employee to serve the warning letter to them.
  • Mention the name of the employee you are issuing the warning to as well as the name of the person they can contact in future with their problems in future with their contact details.
  • Make the letter short and precise. It should not cause confusion.
  • The warning letter should be issued to an employee immediately after the misconduct occurs to avoid escalation of the matter.
  • When the issue is big and complicated enough, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice before issuing the warning letter.

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