Canadian companies should direct managers on when, why, and how to issue written warnings to employees for various reasons. Written warnings serve as a formal document that outlines an employee’s misconduct or performance issues and the consequences if the behavior is not corrected.
However, it is also important for managers to understand when not to issue written warnings.
Why to Issue Written Warnings:
- Written warnings serve as a formal document that can be used as evidence in future disciplinary actions.
- Written warnings provide clear expectations and consequences for employees, helping to improve their performance and conduct.
- Written warnings can serve as a deterrent for future misconduct or poor performance.
When to Issue Written Warnings:
- When an employee has engaged in misconduct, such as violation of company policies or the law.
- When an employee’s performance is consistently below expectations or standards.
- When verbal warnings or coaching have not been successful in improving the employee’s behavior or performance.
How to Issue Written Warnings:
- Written warnings should be issued in a timely manner after the misconduct or poor performance has occurred.
- The warning should be specific, outlining the behavior or performance issue and the consequences if it is not corrected.
- The warning should be issued in a private setting and given to the employee in person.
- The employee should be given an opportunity to respond to the warning and their response should be documented.
When Not to Issue Written Warnings:
- When the employee’s behavior or performance is a result of a lack of resources or training.
- When the employee’s behavior or performance is a result of a disability or accommodation needs.
- When the behavior or performance issue is minor and not likely to recur.
Employers should be aware that the following avenues are available to employees who feel that a written warning issued to them is baseless, unwarranted or biased and should be prepared to deal with them in a fair and consistent manner:
- Speak with their supervisor or manager to discuss the warning and the reasons for it.
- Submit a written complaint or grievance to the Human Resources department outlining their concerns and the reasons they feel the warning is unjust.
- Request a meeting with a representative of the company’s management team to discuss the warning and its implications.
- Seek advice and guidance from an employee assistance program or an employee rights organization.
- Consult with a lawyer or legal professional to understand their rights and options in terms of challenging the warning.
- File a complaint with relevant government bodies such as the Ministry of Labour or the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
- Seek mediation or arbitration through a neutral third-party to resolve the issue.
- Consider seeking employment elsewhere if the situation cannot be resolved to their satisfaction.
In conclusion, written warnings are an important tool for managers to use in addressing misconduct and poor performance in the workplace. However, it is important for managers to understand when and why to issue written warnings and when not to issue them. They should also be aware of the process for issuing written warnings and the importance of documenting the process.