Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about warning procedure:

Can a Supervisor issue a verbal warning before they have started their working day after witnessing unacceptable behaviour and does the employee have to sign an acceptance of the warning.

Signed, Can and Have To

Dear Can and Have To:

To ask, can a supervisor issue a warning and does an employee have to sign indicates you are thinking in terms of what is the rule, regulation and/or law. I know of no laws pertaining to giving and getting warnings. Our site addresses workplace communication, not legal matters; therefore, this should not be interpreted as legal advice. To the best of my knowledge, a warning can be given at any time when someone in authority, such as a supervisor, sees something that is unsafe, wrong in procedure, or defective in product, service or interpersonal relationship. An employee warned in writing is expected to sign it to indicate she/he has seen it. Also an employee warned can then submit a response to that warning. The importance of a warning is not so much if it has been given at a wrong time as is its message to an employee that wrong behavior needs to be stopped, prevented, and/or make right. A warning should be seen as an opportunity to clarify procedures that are unacceptable.

Those written-up should seek to learn what is unacceptable, apologize and affirm their intention to correct wrongs and do quality work.Supervisor should not be seen are ever-present police eager to hand-out tickets. They are present to see to it that the work organization is accountable. Warned employees should not avoid supervisors who have given warnings; rather they should talk with them more frequently; to get instructions clear and to help the organization deliver high quality goods and service. Working together with hands, head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and that’s the kind of responsibility of and benefit that comes from committed employees.

William Gorden