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Letter for disciplinary action

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Letter for disciplinary action
November 16, 2018 Anniversary Wishes No comments

Easily customize our Employee Warning Letter to create a formal infraction a written warning to inform an employee that they are taking disciplinary action.

Employers use disciplinary procedures to tell employees that their performance or conduct isn't up to the expected standard and to encourage improvement.

How disciplinary procedures work

A disciplinary procedure is sometimes the best way for your employer to tell you when something is wrong. It allows them to explain clearly what improvement is needed and should give you an opportunity to put your side of the situation.

Your employer must put their disciplinary procedure in writing, and make it easily available to all staff It should include the rules, what performance and behaviour might lead to disciplinary action, and what action your employer might take.

Before taking formal disciplinary action or dismissing you, your employer may try to raise the matter informally with you. This is often a good way of resolving a problem quickly. However, they can go straight to their formal disciplinary or dismissal procedures.

Statutory minimum disciplinary procedures

By law, at present there are certain minimum steps that must be included in a disciplinary procedure - these are known as the 'statutory minimum procedures'. Your employer’s disciplinary procedure should include the following steps:

  • a letter setting out the reasons or reasons why they are considering disciplinary action
  • a meeting to discuss the issue
  • a disciplinary decision
  • a chance to appeal this decision

If your employer dismisses you without following this process, then if you make an unfair dismissal claim, the dismissal will normally be 'automatically unfair'. You normally need at least a year's service before you can make an unfair dismissal claim.

Disciplinary procedures in your employment contract

You employer can set out their own disciplinary procedures in your employment contract. However, these must meet the statutory minimum disciplinary procedures.

If your employer has laid down a disciplinary procedure that forms a part of your contract then you could sue for breach of employment contract if they haven't followed it.

Other reasonable steps

On top of the statutory minimum procedures, there are other steps that an employer would be expected to take in order to be reasonable. The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) has produced  a Code of Practice on disciplinary procedures.

You can't take your employer to an Industrial Tribunal because they haven't followed the Code but if you make an unfair dismissal claim the Code can be taken into account.


Your employer can suspend you while the issue is looked into and if you are, you should be told why you're being suspended. To make it clear that this isn't a punishment, the suspension should be on full pay. When this happens you keep your employment rights and if you don't get the right pay you can claim the money as an 'unlawful deduction from wages'.

You may be told not to talk to other employees, customers and suppliers. If this stops you from defending yourself, it may be grounds for appeal. It is up to you whether you comply with this, but you should remember that your employer may take further disciplinary action if you don't.


Your employer will need to investigate if there's a complaint against you and may ask you for a statement. The investigation should be unbiased, fair and reasonable. It should also seek to establish the facts and not just collect evidence against you. You should be given copies of any information that comes out of the investigation.

If you decide you wish to resign from your job, your employer can still choose to carry on with the disciplinary investigation if they wish.

Disciplinary meetings

When giving you the initial statement, or very soon after, your employer must invite you to a meeting to discuss the issues. The meeting is the second step in the statutory procedure.

The meeting which is also known as a 'hearing' must happen before any disciplinary action is taken. If your employer hasn't explained in the statement the reasons why they have reason to discipline you, they have to explain this before the meeting. The meeting itself should:

  • be arranged at a reasonable time for you and anyone else involved
  • be in a private place, so there are no interruptions
  • be at a time that has given you enough time to prepare

If you don't think you've got enough time to prepare then ask your employer for more time. There's no specific minimum amount of time that your employer must give, but they should make sure you know what the meeting is for rather than say 'come into my office for a chat'.

Before the meeting, your employer should give you copies of any written evidence. You should normally be allowed to question any witnesses during the meeting but your employer can choose to make statements from colleagues who don't want to be identified and might prevent you from questioning witnesses.

If your employer has witnesses you should be allowed to bring your own witnesses, or produce witness statements. Prepare carefully, answering any points raised in the statement or further explanation from your employer. If you want you can write down what you want to say and read it out at the meeting.

At the meeting, your employer will explain the complaint and go through the evidence, you can then put your side of the story. You should:

  • ask for copies of any notes of the meeting
  • list the points you want to make
  • listen to what your employer has to say, before giving your side
  • remain calm, so you get your points over clearly

If you can't attend the meeting, if you are off sick for example, your employer would be expected to rearrange the meeting at least once if possible.

If you are still unable to attend then they can choose to hold the meeting in your absence. In this sort of situation you could try to send in a written statement or perhaps a representative who can explain your side of things.

Taking someone with you to a disciplinary hearing

You have a legal right to take someone to the meeting with you. This can be a colleague or trade union representative. If you're not a union member, and no colleague is willing to go with you, you can ask to bring someone else. However, if this isn't something agreed in your contract, your employer can refuse.

Your companion can take notes and speak instead of you, but may not answer questions for you. If your companion can't make the meeting, due to illness for example, your employer must postpone it by up to five days. If they refuse, you could consider making a claim to an Industrial Tribunal.

Disciplinary decisions

Either at the disciplinary meeting or shortly after, your employer should tell you their decision. They may chose to tell you personally, but they should also confirm what they have told you in writing.

Depending on the reason for the disciplinary action, the decision might be:

  • no action
  • a verbal warning
  • a written warning
  • a final warning
  • demotion
  • dismissal

The outcome might also be anything else that could resolve the problem, such as an agreement to mediate with a co-worker with whom you have had personal problems.


Your company's disciplinary procedure should include how many verbal or written warnings are needed before a final warning or dismissal. You should be given a written warning, or if the warning was verbal a written confirmation of it, saying what it was for and how long it will remain in force.

Your employer is allowed to give any type of warning that they think is appropriate. For example, in a case of theft or violence they might decide to go straight to a final warning - or even dismissal.

Your employer should always try to act consistently, so if they would give others a verbal warning in a particular situation they shouldn't give you a final warning unless there are good reasons for doing so.

If you're given an official warning without an initial letter and meeting, you should appeal and explain why. This might happen if your employer has treated a simple telling off as an official verbal warning. Although the most common actions are warnings or dismissal, your contract may allow other penalties such as demotion, or suspension without pay.

Your employer must not change your job description as a punishment, nor fine you, unless this is allowed by your contract.

Disciplinary appeals

During a disciplinary procedure, if your employer does anything that seems unreasonable you should tell them (in writing) and suggest ways to solve the problem. They may decide to carry on the procedure anyway, in which case you might decide to use the issue as grounds for an appeal.

Your employer must notify you of your right to appeal the decision arrived at concerning your grievance. An appeal is the third step of the statutory grievance procedure and if you want to take your case to an Industrial Tribunal you must have appealed against the decision before making your claim. If you do not, any compensation you win may be reduced.

You can appeal against the decision if you think:

  • the decision was wrong
  • unfair procedures were used
  • the punishment is too harsh
  • new evidence has come to light

Your grounds for appeal should be reasonable. Minor breaches of procedures, or your personal feelings, won't usually change the decision that has been reached. The appeals process is similar to the disciplinary procedure:

  • you write a letter giving reasons for appealing
  • there's a meeting, usually with a more senior manager than was at the first meeting
  • a final decision is made

Make sure you know what the time limit is for appealing, which are often in the written procedures. If you're not given enough time to appeal, do what you can and provide any other necessary information later.

In small firms it may not be possible to find someone with higher authority than the person who took the original disciplinary decision. If this is the case, that person should act as impartially as possible when hearing the appeal and should use the meeting as an opportunity to review the original decision. You have the right to be accompanied to this meeting.

You can't make an Industrial Tribunal claim against a warning, although you could claim constructive dismissal if you decide to leave. A better approach is to suggest mediation or conciliation.

If you're unhappy with the appeal decision

If you don't accept the decision, you should first check to see if you have a further right of appeal. In some situations you can make a claim to an Industrial Tribunal. Possible grounds for making a claim include:

  • unlawful discrimination in the procedure
  • breach of statutory rights - for example, being disciplined for joining or refusing to join a trade union
  • constructive dismissal, if you feel that you had to resign because of the action
  • unfair dismissal

You can also make a breach of contract claim through a civil court if your employer has broken the terms of your contract. The usual time limit for making a tribunal claim is three months.

If the appeals process isn't completed within the normal time limit, the tribunal may extend it by a further three months. If you are unsure about the time limits, you should seek advice from an expert.

Where you can get help

The Labour Relations Agency (LRA) offers free, confidential and impartial advice on all employment rights issues for residents of Northern Ireland. 

If you face disciplinary action, and aren't sure what to do, you can get advice about your rights. Advice NI offers free and unbiased advice, and you may be able to get help from a union if you are a member.

More useful links

Appeal Letter Disciplinary Action. {Your Name} {Your Address} {Your Phone #}. { Date}. Dear {Mr./Mrs. Bossname}: I would like to respectfully appeal the decision .

Want to Draft a Warning Letter to Employee? Get Free HR Templates Now!

letter for disciplinary action

{Your Name}
{Your Address}
{Your Phone #}


Dear {Mr./Mrs. Bossname}:

I would like to respectfully appeal the decision to formally discipline me on {date}. My employee record at this company is important to me, and I do not feel my actions warranted this degree of punishment.

While I understand that I {action}, I believe that there were extenuating circumstances that we're considered during my hearing. {Brief description of extenuating circumstances}. This was a one-time incident, brought on by {aspect}.

I understand that rules are in place for workplace safety and social conduct, and I would never want to violate those essential elements here at {Workplace}. I would just like to request reconsideration in light of my circumstances. Thank you for your consideration.

Thank you,

{Sender Name}

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Disciplinary Letters

letter for disciplinary action

Template Letter: Invite to Disciplinary Hearing

Posted in : D.I.Y Templates on 13 December 2016

This template invite to disciplinary hearing letter includes notes to demonstrate how it complies with the requirements laid out in the LRA’s Code of Practice. 

You will be aware of the Statutory three-step procedure when dealing with disciplinary issues and the need to, in Step One, write to the employee. The Code of Practice states that employers should:

  1. Let the employee know in writing the nature of what they are alleged to have done wrong.
  2. The letter setting out the allegation can also be used to explain the basis for making the allegation. It is important that an employee is given sufficient information to understand the basis of the case against them.
  3. If applicable, provide copies of any written evidence, which may include any witness statements, with the notification letter.
  4. Invite the employee to a meeting at a reasonable place and time.
  5. Inform them of the possible consequences of the formal action
  6. Inform them of the right to be accompanied at the meeting

As stated above the purpose of this letter is to give a practical demonstration of how / where these 6 points are covered so that you can be assured that your Step One letters are compliant.

Download the template invite to disciplinary hearing letter now:

Download:Sample Invite letter to Disciplinary Hearing

This article is correct at 13/12/2016

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

These documents may later serve as proof when sending out a disciplinary action letter for insubordination, misconduct, lateness, performance.

Appeal Letter Disciplinary Action

letter for disciplinary action

The workplace is an important aspect of many people’s lives. Often, employees spend more time at work than they do at home on a daily basis. Sometimes, however, certain issues can arise at work that are less than ideal, which can lead to disciplinary action by the employer. Depending on the level of the offense, the employer may issue a few verbal warnings before sending a disciplinary letter, which can also be called a letter of reprimand.

Understand the Terms

In Ontario, the Human Resources department at your workplace will likely issue the disciplinary letter in conjunction with your manager or supervisor. Take time to understand the terms of the letter carefully before writing a response. Does the letter specify the reason for the disciplinary action?

If the letter is referring to an issue or situation which you have already been warned about verbally, it may outline the instances when you received the verbal warning. The letter may also specify how your actions go against company policy or provincial or federal labor laws. You may be told about specific disciplinary actions your company will be taking as a result of your offense.

This letter is in regard to the incident on Oct. 1, 2018, during which time you showed up to work in strict violation of our company dress code. This marks the third occasion this year where you've chosen to ignore our clearly designated dress code, as well as verbal warnings about changing your attire. Given your disregard for our company's policy, we are mandating that you attend our company's employee training for new employees next month to specifically review our policies. If there are future violations, we may have to temporarily suspend your employment.

Seek Professional Advice

It can be very distressing to receive a disciplinary letter. Before taking any action, seek out professional advice if you require some guidance on what to do next. You can speak directly with your HR department about why you are being reprimanded, or if you feel comfortable you can also touch base with your supervisor.

In Ontario, HR professionals are governed by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), which has local chapters in several cities and towns across the province. If you feel that your HR department has wrongfully disciplined your actions, you can reach out to the HRPA to learn more about what steps you can take.

The Ministry of Labour in Ontario provides detailed standards for employers and employees alike. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) offers information regarding the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees. Consult the ESA if you have any questions regarding your rights as an employee and whether your employer has disciplined you according to the regulations.

If you work in a unionized environment and are part of a union, you will have access to a lawyer to discuss any future actions.

Develop a Detailed Response

After considering the reasons for your disciplinary letter and understanding your rights and responsibilities, it’s imperative to compose a response to the letter and deliver it to your HR representative. Also, ensure your response is appended to the original letter in your employee file for future reference.

In your response, acknowledge that you have received the disciplinary letter. If you understand why you have received it, say that you are aware of your wrongdoing. If you have questions regarding the situation, lay them out clearly so that your HR representative or supervisor can review them with you. Finally, initiate a plan for the future. Suggest actions you will take that will improve your performance at work specifically related to the matter at hand. For example, if you are receiving the disciplinary letter for dressing inappropriately on the job, suggest that you will make every effort to dress according to the dress code as outlined by your employer.

I am writing this to acknowledge your disciplinary letter dated Oct. 15, 2018. While I do understand that I violated the company dress code on several of the occasions which you mentioned, I am not clear how the outfit I wore on Oct. 1, 2018 was in violation. I am happy to attend the employee training for a refresher on the specific way you'd prefer employees to dress, and will make every effort to conform to the company policy in the future. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

SAMPLE LETTER: Reprimand – Unsatisfactory Work Performance If your performance does not improve, increased disciplinary action will be taken up to and.

letter for disciplinary action
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