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How to Complete Employee Disciplinary Forms (or Write-Ups)

Correct misconduct with clear documentation to get straying employees back on track.

Posted by Timothy Dimoff on March 18th, 2019

You have an employee who is causing problems. You’ve investigated the issue and now it’s time to write up an employee disciplinary action report.

At some point in time, whether you’re a workplace investigator, a human resources manager, or a department supervisor, you may need to write-up an employee for disciplinary reasons. It is important to know how to properly write-up an employee incident to help protect your business in the event of legal actions which may be brought due to firings or other disciplinary actions.

What is an Employee Write-Up?

Essentially, employee write-up forms are warning letters that are also referred to as employee disciplinary action forms. They are used to warn employees of their problematic conduct and to help managers explain behavior or productivity problems to employees.

Need help documenting disciplinary action? Download the free Employee Disciplinary Action Form Template

Write-ups are generally used after a verbal warning has been given. Common uses for employee write-ups include:

  • excessive use of electronics
  • lack of productivity
  • breach of company policy
  • misconduct
  • poor performance
  • tardiness or excessive absenteeism
  • damage to company property
  • theft
  • substance abuse
  • creating disturbances

It’s important to conduct a fair and thorough investigation before disciplining an employee. Get this step right with our free eBook on Conducting Effective Workplace Investigations

What to Include in a Disciplinary Form

When writing up an employee, it’s important to include the following information in any disciplinary form:

  • The employee’s name and the date of the write-up. This ensures there will be no question as to who the form was referring to and when it was written.
  • Clearly state why they are being written up. Even if you have discussed it with the employee, you should document in detail the reason(s) for the write-up. This helps to protect you in the event of any legal actions.
  • How many times this employee has been written up. This can be used to show that the employee has been warned and that the next step may be termination.
  • Clearly state details about the problem. List any proof you have including quotes from others, dates and details about their performance or behaviors. Be specific and as detailed as you can be. You should be able to gather this information during your investigations.
  • Give the employee a deadline to fix the problem. Writing a deadline tells them what changes you expect and when you expect these changes or corrective actions to be in place.
  • Always have them sign and date the write-up. This paper trail is essential in the event that you need to terminate them. It shows they were warned and that they understood the possible consequences for their behavior. It also shows them that this is serious. And again, it can be used in the event of any legal actions.

Conducting a thorough investigation and following up with warning letters or write-ups helps to protect your company and can go a long way towards helping wayward employees to get back on track.

Timothy Dimoff
Timothy Dimoff

President, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues.
He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University.

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