Three Verbal Warnings


Can an employee be terminated after three verbal warnings?


If Warned


DearĀ If Warned:

I assume you have been warned three times because most questions about firing that come to us are from individuals who have been warned and/or have been fired. The short answer is that termination depends on the seriousness of the reason for the warnings and on what your workplace’s policies are about steps that must be taken before firing. In most workplaces, you can be fired for almost any or no reason unless you have a union contract with disciplinary procedures specified or if the offense entails discrimination against a protected class.

You don’t say if you have been warned, nor do you say if you have a union, have a company policy regarding firing or work in a right to work state. Our site focuses on workplace communication and doesn’t advise in legal matters or those that primarily to pertain to Human Resources. But we have answered such questions as yours as you can see in our archives. Workplace Doctor Tina Lewis Rowe recently addressed a question similar to yours. See Verbal Warning Required Before Suspension Assuming, as I am, that you are the one with three warnings, the more important consideration for you should not be the immediate question of whether you can be fired with three verbal warnings. Rather, it should be about the causes for three warnings and whether you think you are valued by your workplace and if it is worth being employed there. The same kind of question would apply to a player in professional sports. Can a team manager or coach fire someone who has been warned three times? Likely the answer is yes, depending on how valuable is that player to the team and on how serious is the cause for the warnings.

Sooooo might your larger questions be: Do you need to be employed and do you think your skills and interest fit in the place in which you are now employed? Should the answer be yes to both of these questions, probably it is time for you to examine your job dependability and performance. That is to say are you a good team member and are you earning your right to be employed? I’ll say little more in this reply to your one-line question. I’m sure you don’t want a long sermon.

Our site has much to say on teamwork and if interested you can seek that out. I hope these thoughts satisfactorily answer your question. If they don’t, you might consult your offices of Personnel or Human Resources or state’s Department of Labor. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. It is my hope that you might come to know the hidden meaning in my signature sentence and worry less about what might happen as a result of three verbal warnings.

William Gorden