Should Verbal Warnings Be Documented In Wrtiting?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about recording a warning:

Other than sending a memo to the employee on things discussed during a verbal warning meeting, is it also appropriate to have a copy of the verbal warning kept on the employee’s personnel file for good? Thanks for your attention!

Signed, Documenting Dilemma

Dear Documenting Dilemma:

Your question seems to be asking if it is appropriate to keep documentation of a verbal warning in the personnel folder forever, or if it should be purged at some point. Or, you may be asking if a verbal warning should have written documentation. I’ll answer both of those as part of a broader answer that might help our other readers. I will use the term “formal verbal warning” to describe the first step in a progressive discipline system (For example: Verbal warning, written warning, reprimand, loss of salary or time, suspension, firing.) as compared to a warning given by a supervisor, verbally. (“Greg, don’t do that again or you’ll get in trouble.”)

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