Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

by Katie Sawyer, 10 minutes read
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Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

Before we move forward with the blog, click on the link below to download your employee write-up form.


Your business has a strict set of rules and guidelines regarding employee behavior and performance. These aren’t put in place to purposely upset the employee or to make work harder for them, they’re there to protect the business from building a culture where employees aren’t performing to their highest potential and up hurting the organization as a result. A part of those rules and guidelines is instituting an employee write-up form that is used to reprimand employees for a wide variety of reasons.

Here are just a couple of examples of why an employee could end up being written up:

  • Regularly coming in late
  • Missing a shift without letting anyone know
  • Talking back to a customer or doing anything similar to diminish the brand
  • Starting an altercation with another employee
  • Violations of policies or safety rules
  • Consistently bad job performance
  • Complaints of harassment

That said, every business should exhaust every option before advancing to the employee write-up form. This is a fairly serious consequence meant to stay on the employee records for future reference, so make sure that you nor any of your managers are making the mistake of quickly turning to the employee write-up form whenever an employee messes up an order or comes in three minutes late. You should exhaust every other option before turning to the employee write-up form, this means issuing a warning and a sit-down conversation before considering the employee write-up form. You should also keep well-documented instances of the employees’ misbehavior as a way to keep track and be well assured that writing them up is a rational move. Not only that, but properly documenting employee discipline is great for protecting your own company down the line.

Another way of protecting your company down the line is by using an employee scheduling platform that saves your managers time spent on making employee schedules so they can focus on improving the performance of your store. To learn more on how Deputy works to strengthen your business, click on the button below to begin your trial.


Documenting instances of employee misbehavior

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

When you’re considering officially documenting employee misbehavior or an issue regarding their performance, it’s important to do it correctly so their aren’t any holes in your procedures that can result in trouble for you or your business. To give you some help, take a look at the tips below that are meant as a precaution for any legal liability that may arise against your company.

  1. Be consistent in your discipline

If you decide to write an employee up for coming into work ten minutes late, then you’re entitled to do that. Just make sure that if any other employee were to also come in ten minutes late that you also write them up and not show any special or preferential treatment towards any of the employees. If so, you may find yourself in some legal trouble. To be assured that you’re protected, make sure to clearly state your guidelines regarding subjects like employee tardiness in your employee handbook so it can be easily referenced whenever you need to. Also, make sure to update it with any new policies that you decide to add.

  1. Be very specific

If you’re documenting an event that can potentially lead to an employee losing their job, make sure that you’re being as specific as possible so you’re able to reference the exact occasions that led up to the write-up. For example, “Employee was late on March 10, the reason given was because they woke up late”, “Employee was late on April 25, the reason given was because their car wouldn’t start”, ”Employee was late on May 9, the reason given was because they woke up late”. Having these occasions clearly written out will make it convenient to reference them whenever you speak with the employee during the write-up.

  1. State all the facts

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

When you make note of the occurrence that led to the write-up, make sure that you’re stating all the facts regarding the infringement including the exact policy that they broke, the date & time they broke it, as well as how many times this issue has occurred in the past.

  1. Don’t include information regarding any emotional content

This can be confusing so allow me to expand a bit here. You should never include any language in your write-up that uses terms like “She whines and moans all the time,” “He’s my least favorite employee,” “She was stressed out about a recent breakup”. When you use language like this, it becomes open to interpretation and can end up hurting you instead of helping you make your case.

  1. Have very clear consequences

In order for you to get the most out of the write-up, you must have very clear consequences set in place so the employee understands what will happen if the behavior continues. For example, clearly stating to an employee in trouble for constantly coming in late that if they come in late one more time that month, then they will be fired. Another one is telling a delivery driver that if they arrive late to another order then they’ll be fired. This is useful for providing the employee with clear next steps of what will end up happening if the behavior continues.

  1. Have the employee sign the document

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

You’ll need proof that you explained to the employee what happened and that the discussion over their conduct has occurred. Make sure that they sign and date the document so you have the proof in your records.

  1. Give your employee ample time to respond

This can’t be a completely one-sided discussion, if so, it will seem like the employee is being attacked. Make sure to give the employee a chance to speak up for themselves and rebuke any claims they deem as inaccurate.

  1. Avoid having a malicious tone

They’re already getting written up, they feel terrible and this will most likely put them in a bad mood for the rest of the day. So there’s no reason to add insult to injury by being mean when delivering the bad news. At the end of the day, writing up an employee isn’t fun for either of you and being nasty will just make it worse.

Employee warnings

Before you even get to the write-up stage regarding employee misconduct, you must first make sure to issue a warning so that the employee understands that they messed up and that they need to work on the issue to avoid any further discipline. That said, there are different types of warnings out there and you should go over each type to make sure that you’re implementing the most effective warning system for your business. Take a look at the information below to learn more.

  1. Verbal warning

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

Not all warnings designate the need for pen & paper, sometimes you just need to verbally reprimand an employee for coming in late or for messing up a customer’s order. That said, a verbal warning is still a warning and the employee should understand that. You should also make sure to make a note of the conversation for yourself so that you remember that the conversation took place.

  1. First written warning

Whether you decide to give them a verbal warning first or to go straight to the written warnings, this is the first step towards an official employee write-up. This should consist of a private, one on one, conversation with the employee where they hear out why they are being spoken to and understand what they need to do to prevent further issues. Make sure that you include paperwork where you state the areas where the employee needs to improve, along with providing a space for them to sign their names. Since this is just a warning, you should consider letting it expire after a month or two.

  1. Second written warning

Giving a second warning is completely up to you and you are perfectly entitled to skip the second written warning and to go straight to the write-up. But if you’re in a forgiving mood, then keep on reading.

The second written warning is for when the employees’ performance hasn’t improved and when the problem continues to persist even after the initial written warning. For the second warning, you should designate a review date where you meet back up with the employee to go over their recent job performance to see if it’s now up to par or still needs some work. Aside from that, the procedures are similar to the first written warning and you should document the meeting as well as having the employee sign and date it. This should be the last written warning and the next step is to issue an official employee write-up.

What should a written warning contain?

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

With all this talk of written warnings, it’s only fair we give you an idea of what it should contain so you’re aware of how it should be structured. Here’s a list of information that the warning should contain:

  • Clearly state what the issue was that caused the warning to be issued. So if it was an issue with tardiness, make sure to state that.
  • You should also input the exact date & time the issue took place so it can be readily referenced whenever you need to.
  • Reference the exact company policies the issue was in breach of, make sure to include exact details of the policies that were in breach.
  • Information regarding the actions required of the employee to get back into good standing.
  • A specified time frame of how long the employee should go without any other negative occurrences, as well as a date for when their performance will be reviewed.
  • Very clear ramifications regarding what will happen if they don’t improve in the areas that need improvement.

Areas that need policies

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

There are certain areas known for being persistent issues in regards to employee misconduct. Due to them being so common, it’s best to take time to develop specific policies regarding these infractions so you and your managers have a clear idea of how to move forward with an issue each time. It also gives you the chance to clearly state the ramifications of certain policies to your employees so they’re aware of how it affects them. Here is a list of the most popular areas that need storewide attention.

  1. Dress code

Your business doesn’t have a dress code for no reason, it strengthens your brand and lets customers know who your employees are. Which is why you should be very straightforward on how you expect your employees to come in dressed each day. If you say blue jeans, then an employee wearing black jeans is not acceptable. You are going to want to issue a verbal warning the first time it happens, then move up from there.

  1. Mobile phone

Downloadable Template for Employee Write-Up Form

You’ve seen it a hundred times and are bound to see it a hundred more. Employees using their phones while in the store and on the clock. While it’s understandable to allow phone use while the business is slow or for emergencies, they should be completely put away while customers are inside. Seeing an employee on their phone is unprofessional and lessens the value of your brand. Make sure to have a clear policy stating that phones are to be completely put away while customers are present and to make sure they’ve completed their other tasks before pulling them out.

  1. Illegal behavior

While this shouldn’t have to be said, it’s best to state it anyway to protect yourself and your brand. You should make it very clear that illegal behavior of any kind will result in a write-up or immediate termination. This includes:

  • Theft
  • Drug possession
  • Intoxicated while on the job
  • Violence of any kind

Here’s an example of the difference between an employee write-up and a termination, say you catch an employee drinking a bottled soda you knew they didn’t pay for. This would be a write-up or even a warning if they were new and weren’t aware of the rule yet. On the other hand, if you catch an employee taking money from the cash register, that should be considered an immediate termination.

Last thoughts

Using an employee write-up form is never fun but it is necessary to ensure that your brand is living up to its full potential. It’s also a great way to combat employee misconduct with preplanned procedures that protect the business from any potential legal issues. So make sure to download the template attached to this blog and keep it close by so you can use it whenever it’s needed.

On a lighter note, your employees are less likely to act out at work if they’re satisfied with their jobs. One of the best ways of ensuring that is by giving them an efficient employee scheduling platform that makes it easy to create schedules along with making it convenient for them to receive schedules. Click on the button below to begin your trial and see it in action for yourself.