Final Written Warning!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a final warning:

I’ve just been disciplined and given a final written warning for not training my staff. I have fully completed training files to company standards. My assistant manager and I did them, but they’re saying only I can do this. I’ve never been told that only I am to do this. No one has ever spoken about this before this time. They have given me a final warning, jumping over all other lines of warnings. Can they go straight to a final warning?

Signed, Final Warning With None Before

DearĀ Final Warning With None Before:

I can understand your dismay over being disciplined with a final warning, especially when you have never been warned before. What might you do other than feel angry? You say the reason for the warning was because your assistant helped you do the training reports and that you had never been instructed to do them by yourself. Get the facts. What were you told when you were assigned to do training files? Who told you? When? Were instructions made orally or also in print? Examine the written warning. See if this is the only reason for the warning.

Prepare a written response stating what you have said in this query to us. But don’t email it. Have someone outside the workplace, which is good at grammar, check it for clarity and spelling. (I say this because and you might notice, I reworded what you sent us because it was confusing to me.) Take this written response with you to the meeting with your superior or whoever sent you the warning. Next, study your policy book to learn what are the procedures to be followed in giving a warning and what is the meaning of a final warning.

Most companies have a graduated disciplinary process that progresses from oral to written before a final warning. Skipping to a final warning is reserved for very serious transgression, such as drinking on the job, stealing, and failing to heed safety regulations. With this information added to your written explanation for allowing your assistant to prepare the training files, you are now prepared to meet with whoever sent you the warning to learn what is the basis for it. Your goal is not to argue about the warning, but to reaffirm your commitment to doing what is expected. So begin by explaining that you are shocked to get a warning and say that you are pledged to follow company policy. If you have had good performance evaluations and promotions in the past, you might bring those with you. Also, depending on what you have learned about procedures for giving warnings, you might say that this is the first warning you’ve gotten and you would like to know why you got a final warning and preliminary oral/written steps were jumped over.

Keep you conversation cool and pleasant, even though you may be hot under the collar. What you might request is for deletion or at least reconsideration of that warning. Most companies allow for an employee to submit an explanation and rebuttal to a warning to be put into her/his file. Keep you spirits up and refrain from gossiping about this warning. As much as possible look on it as learning experience and as an opportunity to make lemon aid out of lemons. I’m sure you can think of a more original example than that. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that kind of winning attitude is what will benefit your workplace and in turn benefit you. Feel free to keep us posted on how it is going in your workplace. Do read other of our Q&As. Many of them provide suggestions for dealing with disappointments of one sort or another.

William Gorden