What is Warning Letter? | Meaning & Definition | Akrivia HCM

What is a warning letter?

A warning letter is a formal written communication from an employer to an employee, addressing specific concerns or issues regarding the employee’s behavior or performance. It serves as a documented record of the employee’s misconduct and is used as evidence in the event of further disciplinary action.

Warning letters are a formal way to communicate to employees that their behavior is unacceptable and needs improvement.

The letter aims to communicate the problems to the employee and urge them to improve. It outlines the specific incidents or areas of concern, providing a timeline for improvement.

Here are some of the things that a warning letter typically includes:

  • The employee’s name and job title.
  • The date of the letter.
  • The specific incident or issue that needs to be focussed.
  • The employer’s expectations for the employee’s behavior or performance.
  • A timeline for improvement.
  • The consequences of not improving.

Types of Warning Letters

There are many different types of warning letters that can be issued to employees, depending on the nature of the misconduct or poor performance. Some of the most common one’s include:

  • Verbal warning: This is the most informal type of warning and is typically given to an employee after they have committed a minor infraction. The employee’s supervisor usually gives a verbal warning, and it may simply involve a reminder of the company’s policies or expectations.
  • Written warning: This is a more formal warning given to employees after committing a more serious infraction. A written notice will typically include a description of the misconduct, the consequences of the misconduct, and a call to action for the employee to improve their behavior.
  • Final written warning: This is the most serious warning given to an employee who has repeatedly violated company policies or expectations. A final written notice will typically state that any further misconduct will result in termination of employment.

Warning letter type


Verbal warning

Minor infractions

Written warning

Serious infractions

Final written warning

Repeated misconduct


Serious misconduct


Gross misconduct

Format of warning letter


To: [Employee Name]

From: [Your Name]

Subject: Warning Letter

This letter is to serve as a formal warning to you for your [misconduct or performance issue].

On [date], you [describe the specific incident(s) that led to the warning].

This behavior is unacceptable and violates company policy [specify the relevant policy].

If this behavior continues, you may be subject to further disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

We are providing you with this opportunity to improve your behavior or performance.

Specifically, you need to [list the specific steps that the employee needs to take in order to improve their behavior or performance].

You will be subject to further disciplinary action if you do not improve your behavior or performance.

I trust that you will take this warning seriously and take the necessary steps to improve your behavior or performance.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


[Your Name]

Tips to write a warning letter

Here are some tips for writing a warning letter:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Be specific about the employee’s misconduct or poor performance.
  • Be objective and fair.
  • Be respectful.
  • State the consequences of not improving.

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