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25+ FREE Employee Warning Letter (Samples & Templates)

As an employer, you may occasionally witness some of your best employees to develop unscrupulous behavior. When you experience your employees continuously engaging in misdemeanors such as unwillingness to perform duties, absenteeism, tardiness, substandard work submission, and policy violation, it’s high time you take action. If you fail to address this predicament, it can lead to further chaos such as disrespect to the management and colleagues, unproductivity, among other negative impacts. Therefore, writing a warning letter can be the best thing to do when handling this problem.

What is an Employee Warning Letter?

A warning letter to an employee is a formal notice given by the employer to the employee so as to address the misbehavior or wrongdoing in the workplace. Usually, an employer may choose to first issue the employee with a verbal warning before giving the written one. This will, however, depend on the company’s disciplinary action policy. Warning letters play a critical role in helping the employees understand how their misconduct negatively impacts their work and company. Also, it helps the employees know what consequences follow when they violate the company regulations.

Finally, the warning letters help the employer keep a track record of the disciplinary action followed before dismissing an employee.

Alternative names

An employee warning letter can also be referred by using the following alternate names:

  • Employee warning form
  • Employee reprimand letter
  • A disciplinary form
  • Employee warning notice
  • Written warning

How to Structure a Warning Letter to the Employee

Employee warning letters are formal letters. Therefore, when writing to them, you need to observe the official letter writing format to make your letter more professional. That being said, your letter should typically have the following structure:

Employer’s address

At the very start of your letter, you need to write the sender’s address (the employer) at the top left side.


You can leave some space after the employers address details and add the date of writing. This will help in the purpose of record-keeping.

Employee’s address

Here, you will add the employee’s name, address information, and contact details. Note that this section should be located below the date.

Subject line

If you are sending an electronic warning letter, you should include the subject line. Otherwise, if you are writing a printed letter, you can ignore this part.


Usually, the most commonly used salutations include ‘Dear’ or ‘Hello.’ This should then be followed by the employee’s last name then a comma.

Opening paragraph

In the introductory paragraphs, you need to mention the reason why you are writing the letter. Clearly indicate the problem or misbehavior the specific employee committed.


Here, you will explain the necessary action the employee is expected to correct the issue. For example, if the employee sneaked an unauthorized person to the office, you can tell them to write an apology letter to the management. Also, you can give the employee a timeframe in which you would want to see them improve.

Final paragraph

This paragraph should highlight some of the disciplinary actions that the company will take should the employee fail to make improvements. Give the employee ample time to change their behavior.


Before concluding your letter, you need to give your employee a sense of hope. Let them know you still believe in their efforts and that you are looking up to them to change for the better.

Name and signature

If the letter is a printed copy or handwritten, you need to write your name, your title and put your signature.  Also, you can put the company stamp to legitimize its source.

Warning Letter Templates

First Warning Letter Template

Generally, the first warning letter to employees is often lenient and meant to inform the individual employees how they should change. The following is a great sample to consider:

[Name and address of the Sender/employer]


[Name and address of the recipient/employee]

Subject: First Warning Letter

Dear [Employees name]

This is your first warning letter in relation to [mention the misconduct] that you did on [mention the date of incidence].

Since we believe in your ability and flexibility to change, take this letter as an opportunity to change. Please be informed that we are giving you up to [mention the dates] to show improvement. Until then, we will continue monitoring your actions and see whether advance steps can be taken. In the meantime, we expect you to do the following [mention what you want the employee to do].

We hope that you will show improvement and will focus on your performance from now. Kindly sign in below and return the enclosed copy of this letter as confirmation of receipt. If you have any other questions or would like to discuss further on the matter, please reach us through [insert the contacts] as soon as possible.

[Employee’s name]

[Employee’s signature and date]

[Employers’ name]

[Employers signature & date]

Second Warning Letter Template

Second warning letters are often more forceful than the first letters. Let’s take a look at the following sample:

[Name and address of the Sender/employer]


[Name and address of the recipient/employee]

Subject: Second Warning Letter

Dear [Employees name]

Following the first warning letter, we have decided to warn you once again to make a full attempt to improve on your continued misbehavior.

During our last letter/meeting, we agreed that you would make an improvement. However, after a thorough review and discussion with the management, we are still unsatisfied with your conduct. That being said, we are giving your two weeks to improve on yourself, failure to which adverse disciplinary actions may be taken.

Alongside with the warning, we have decided to put you on probation as we watch your actions with a keen eye. If you have any questions, please reach us through [insert contacts].

[Employee’s name]

[Employee’s signature and date]

[Employers’ name]

[Employers signature & date]

Final Warning Letter Template

The final warning letters are meant to remind the employees that you’ve worn them enough. Also, it should let the employee know what is going to happen should they fail to change. Let’s take a look at the sample below:

Subject: Final Warning Letter

Dear [Employees name]

In accordance with our company policy [insert the policy], we are pleased to you this final warning letter following the policy’s continued violation.

As you are aware, your continued absenteeism [mention any other violation] has negatively impacted our company’s performance and team productivity.

We do understand that unexpected issues can sometimes arise on a frequent occasion. For that reason, we are giving you the last chance to make things right. We expect you to correct your behavior/conduct in the following ways [mention how you want the employee to improve].

Note that the management has unanimously reached a decision to give you one chance. Therefore, if you show no signs of progress or improvement, we will regretfully take stance action against you, including dismissal.

Please feel free to reach me through [insert contacts].

[Employee’s name]

[Employee’s signature and date]

[Employers’ name]

[Employers signature & date]

Sample Warning Letters












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warning letter for misconduct

sample warning letter to employee for bad attitude

warning letter to employee for negligence

warning letter for disciplinary action

warning letter for poor performance

warning letter format in word

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free employee warning letter template 01

warning letter for misconduct 01

sample warning letter to employee for bad attitude 01

warning letter to employee for negligence 01

warning letter for disciplinary action 01

warning letter for poor performance 01

warning letter format in word 01

employee warning letter pdf 01

    Tips for Writing a Professional Warning Letter

    Have a personal conversation with the employee

    Before issuing the warning letter, you can speak with the employee in a private setting, preferably in the office. Let the employee know why you are issuing them with the letter of warning.

    Issue the letter immediately after the incident happen

    In order to make your letter much more effective, it’s advisable that you issue the warning letter immediately, the employee commits the offense. If you wait for long, the offense’s severity will diminish, making it look less serious.

    Let the employee sign the letter

    In as much as it’s not compulsory, it’s necessary for the culprit to append their signature in the letter. After talking to them on the matter and reinforcing the same on writing, the employees should include their signature to act as an acknowledgment of the incidence.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    When should you write the warning letter?

    As an employer, whenever you observe that an employee is underperforming or conducting an inappropriate, unprofessional, or otherwise detrimental behavior to your organization, you need first to issue them with a verbal warning notice. The verbal warning informs the employee about their offending action and provides them with a chance to correct it. However, if the verbal warning goes unheeded and the employee’s behavior does not improve, you should formally write and send them the warning letter to resolve the problem.

    Can you skip the verbal warning and directly write the warning letter?

    Generally, it is advisable to give your employees at least one verbal warning before resorting to the written warning form. Nevertheless, suppose an employee commits a serious offense that cannot be tolerated, such as severe misconduct or performance. In that case, you can issue a warning letter to the employee instead of a verbal warning.

    What happens if an employee refuses to sign?

    There are situations where the employee may refuse to sign the warning letter because they disagree with the form’s contents or feel that the document will not be valid without their signature. In such cases, the employer should still sign the warning letter and then allow the employee to write a written response that will be attached to the original document and filed together. This serves as proof that the employee was notified of their offending behavior.

    How long does a warning letter stay on record?

    Generally, there is no set timeframe that a warning letter should remain on record. This depends entirely on the specific organization’s policy, employee disciplinary procedures, and applicable measures. Employers may choose to record corrective action documents permanently in an employee’s personnel file, store them indefinitely, or remove them from the employee’s personnel file after a specified time, for example, after six months or one year, provided there are no further/repeated incidents.

    How many written warnings can you give to your employee?

    Typically, three written warnings are sufficient to justify an employee’s dismissal or termination. This is because the three written warnings are within a reasonable time of one another, and they are about the same issue or related issues. However, note that each employer sets their policies on the types of warnings used and the number of warnings an employee can receive before a serious employment action can be taken against them.

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