Disciplinary Action Policy Letter

For smooth and efficient business operations, maintaining discipline is one of the top priorities of management. Policies entailing rules of conduct and procedures for enforcement of disciplinary actions are stated in the employee handbook, and employees are asked to strictly adhere to them.

However, sometimes employees do not conform to the set rules or perform poorly, affecting the organization. The management, then, has to take steps to correct employee behavior and hence the overall discipline of the workplace or performance. This is called disciplinary action.

There are different disciplinary actions and steps that a manager can take, such as:

  • Informal or oral message: Usually, this is used as the first tactic to correct the disciplinary problem. The employee is informally counseled and informed of the serious consequences that can take place if the issue is not resolved.
  • Formal documented reprimand or warning: This contains all the details, and the employee signs it. A record of this is kept in the employee personnel file.
  • Temporary salary slash
  • Suspension
  • Ending the contract

In the presence of unions or employee representatives, the affected employee can make an appeal, which deals with certain procedures and steps as well.  Usually, this is permissible or addressed within a period of six months. This period of six months is specified because the document containing the details of the disciplinary action is kept in the record for a specific time, which is usually six months.

Sometimes, the organization does not involve itself in the long, step-by-step process of disciplinary action and fires an employee even without a warning. However, this is only possible if a clause of ‘at-will employment’ is part of the contract.

If no other employee laws are being breached, this clause allows the organization to terminate an employee even without giving a warning. If such a clause is not added to the contract, the proper informal process leading to a formal process of warnings is followed.

Usually, positive disciplinary actions are followed by organizations these days. These are focused on resolving the problem with a positive approach rather than affecting employee morale.

Sample Letter


For absenteeism

Dear Mr. Bill,

This letter is being issued to you as a formal warning for your absenteeism, leading to poor performance in your whole department. As a sales manager, you are responsible for your department’s performance. I wanted to resolve this issue informally, which is why I arranged a face-to-face meeting with you last month. I clearly informed you that if you do not correct your behavior, it will lead to serious consequences.

On average, you are absent for two days a week, which is not acceptable at all. The strict action our company takes in such a scenario related to absenteeism is clearly stated on page 32 of the employee handbook (see attached reference).

When the manager is not there to supervise the work, the performance of all employees is likely to fall. For the past year, on average, the sales figures have fallen by 3% every month. In addition to other factors, your absence and poor performance are certainly the most significant reasons behind this.

I clearly asked you in the informal meeting about the reasons and justification for your behavior, but you provided none, which forced me to issue you this warning letter.

I hope you understand the next step in the disciplinary process, and if you do not resolve the issue management is having with you, it might lead to your termination.

You have been an employee for five years, and we do not want to replace you. You must resolve the absenteeism issue and improve the sales department’s performance to stay with us.

A copy of this letter will be kept in your employee file.


Name of the boss

Disciplinary Action Policy Letter

Format: MS Word [.docx]

Disciplinary action letter for misconduct

It has come to my attention that your behavior toward certain team members has been inappropriate. Earlier, several complaints had been received about you using abusive language during discussions. You were initially reprimanded orally and then given a written warning after repeated complaints. However, the latest misconduct, in which you used personal insults and yelled at Ms. Ifra, is serious.

It was witnessed by several others in the corridor as well. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated in our organization. Our organizational culture places high importance on respect and kindness.

We will be taking disciplinary action against you, and an ethics committee has been formed to investigate this matter. Your presence is requested in the HR department at 10:30 a.m. on May 17, 20XX. The committee will listen to your case and decide on a penalty. A copy of this letter and all further proceedings will go in your file.


Disciplinary action letter for misconduct

Disciplinary action letter for poor performance

This is to inform you that your work performance has deteriorated rapidly in the past four months. You have been absent from work frequently and have missed several important meetings. Moreover, the tasks you have been assigned have been mishandled on more than one occasion.

You were also given a written warning six weeks ago. This kind of irresponsible behavior is detrimental to organizational efficiency. Due to your poor performance, your colleagues have been burdened more as they struggle to achieve departmental goals.

The department has decided to take disciplinary action against your poor performance at work. It is requested that you kindly visit the HR department tomorrow and discuss your case with Ms. Samantha. If you are facing any issues, kindly discuss them with her in this meeting. A decision will be taken by the HR department and your immediate supervisor. A copy of this letter will be placed in your file.


Disciplinary action letter for poor performance

Disciplinary action letter for unprofessional behavior

This is to inform you that, after reviewing several instances at work in which you behaved unprofessionally, the organization is forced to take disciplinary action against your behavior. You have been an exemplary employee for the past two years. Lately, your unprofessional behavior towards work has been evident in missing important deadlines, losing a key client, and having an unconcerned attitude.

You were given multiple oral and written warnings for your behavior. However, yesterday you missed a critical meeting with our major client, which caused significant damage to the deal. Therefore, it has been decided that after fair warnings, disciplinary action will be taken against you, leading to a possible demotion.

An HR committee will meet with you on Tuesday, April 20, 20XX, at 1100 hours, and you will get a chance to explain your position. The HR department will be available to address any grievances you have and counsel you. You can discuss with them any issues that you might be suffering from that are keeping you from giving your 100% to work.

A copy of this letter will also be placed in your file. It is sincerely hoped that you and the HR committee can come to an amicable understanding and that there will be no repetition of this unprofessional behavior.


Disciplinary action letter for unprofessional behavior

Disciplinary action letter for negligence

This is to inform you that strict disciplinary action will be taken against you for failing to correctly handle the laboratory equipment. Being a certified person, you are aware of the security hazard your negligence created. Had it not been for the timely arrival of another team member, your negligence could have caused a huge loss. You not only put the lab at risk but also the lives of everyone working in the lab.

The entire staff is given periodic refresher courses and safety instructions to avoid such types of negligence. The safety of the lab and the people cannot be compromised. Your case will be discussed by the board within the next week, and you may be called multiple times to discuss this issue.

Please provide a written explanation for your position.


Disciplinary action letter for negligence