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How to Respond to a Written Warning

How to Respond to a Written Warning

Receiving a written warning from work is a classic example of what you call 'dodging a bullet'! With so many responsibilities and bills to pay, the fear of losing your job can be extremely nerve wracking. This article will tell you the exact way of how to respond to a written warning and retain your dignity and self respect at work.
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2018
We all have issues, both in our personal and professional lives... and then comes that one fine day when an official envelope is handed over to you at your desk when you are trying hard to work! 'A letter for me?' That's the first thing that comes into your mind. 'What could it be? A bonus, a transfer or a promotion! You open up the letter out of curiosity... and it is nothing that you expected it to be, it is a warning letter from the management! I know that the first thing that would come into anyone's mind would be... something I can't write here. You would not agree to most parts of the letter, and even if you do, you wouldn't agree to the fact that you deserved a written warning for this, which is the case most of the time. A written warning is an indication that there has been a breach in the relationship between you and your employer and that your actions (whether intentionally or unintentionally) have affected your credibility as an employee. When it comes to responding to a written warning, the process is simple to say, but difficult to do at that point in time, which is, respond while 'keeping your cool'!

How to Respond to a Written Warning at Work

You will only be able to respond in the correct manner, if you manage to think with a sane mind, which is possible only if you manage to keep your cool. I know that a sudden warning from your boss regarding your credibility may seem like a slap on the face, but then, try to be as calm as possible and try to analyze the situation (the warning letter) properly before responding. If you do not agree to the allegations mentioned in the letter regarding you, it is best to not sign on the letter. However, if you are forced to sign on it, then it is advisable to write, 'I do not agree to the content of this letter' and then sign on the warning letter. Each and every employee has the right to respond to a warning letter and give his or her share of explanation to the accountable authorities. Because you would have no proof for a verbal response, it is strictly advisable to respond in writing. Here is what you should ideally do.

Read the Warning Letter Carefully

The first and foremost thing that you need to do when it comes to responding to the warning letter is to understand the allegations that have been made against you. What was the reason behind this warning letter? What was it that was expected of you that you didn't do? Was it your work or your conduct that offended the management? Try to read and understand the letter from the organization's point of view. Do you agree to the content even to some extent? There obviously needs to be some mistake on your part or else it wouldn't have reached to such and extent. So think and analyze in a calm manner.

Take Notes to Properly Structure Your Responding Letter

Once you have 'somewhat' understood the management's point of view and under what perception was the opinion formed of you, start taking notes of the points where you agree and the points where you don't! If you have an explanation (which you should ideally) then make sure that you structure it in a manner which in no way offends the management, but is capable enough to put your point forward.

Write a Response to the Warning Letter

There are two main purposes behind you responding to the warning letter. The first purpose is to acknowledge what was communicated to you and to put forward your point of view with due respect towards the organization and the management, and the second would be to have a written proof with you in terms of your response and clarifications to the allegations charged on you by the management. Here is a sample of how to write a response to the warning.

Dear Mr. ABC,

This is in response to the warning letter sent to me from the management dated ______.

Your letter states that due to ________ factors and , I have violated the rules and regulations of the organization and not conducted myself in the way I was expected to.

I agree that I had been _____, but it was only because _______.

The letter also stated that I have _____, with due respect to the management and their observation, I beg to differ with the same as ______.

I hope that you will take these points into consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Keep it a Private Affair

You know how things at office work right? I mean you haven't even finished reading the letter and the entire office is already talking about it! You would be tempted to talk back and clarify yourself, but the wise thing to do is not ot do so. Avoid talking about it and don't even encourage anyone to ask you about 'what happened' if you want to maintain your dignity!

Prove Your Credibility to the Organization

The letter questions your credibility, for which you have given them a chance, well, to some extent! So, make sure that you don't give them a chance to point out at your work, credibility, and your performance. Make sure that you prove it to them that in each and every way, you are a profitable asset to the organization.

If things are back to normal, then you can choose to stay, but if you think otherwise then you can consider looking for other options available. I hope these points helped you understand as to how you should react and respond to a warning letter. Just remember that all that you need to do is to keep your calm, try to understand the organization's point of view and with due respect, put your clarification forward. Getting angry and feeling victimized would actually not help. Trying to make things work is the need of the hour. All the best!