Do you know what to do if you receive a written warning?
Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan says written warnings are a sign your employment is at risk, and therefore you must take them seriously.
“A written warning means your boss isn’t happy with your performance or conduct, so therefore, you need to take immediate action to improve,” he said.
“Some written warnings are unfair however, and in that case, workers need to take action to dispute them.”
Written warnings usually follow a warning meeting
Legitimate written warnings usually follow a warning meeting.
It must detail the issues with your performance or conduct, and what you subsequently need to do to improve.
“Importantly, you must be given a timetable to improve your performance,” Mr Heffernan said.
“You must be given time and direction to rectify what you have been doing wrong.”
Signing written warnings
Employers usually require employees to sign a written warning in order to confirm receipt of the warning.
However, in some cases, a boss might also demand an employee sign the letter to confirm acceptance of the poor performance or conduct outlined in the letter.
Mr Heffernan warns workers to not sign any confirmation or acceptance of untrue or unfair allegations.
“If you dispute anything in the warning letter, do not sign confirmation or acceptance of the allegations,” he said.
“If the warning is unfair, seek urgent advice from an employment law expert.”
An employer must also give an employee an opportunity to respond in writing to any allegations made in a warning letter, according to Mr Heffernan.
Three warnings myth
Many employees incorrectly believe they must be given three warnings before dismissal.
“You can be given one warning, six warnings or no warnings before dismissal, depending on your particular circumstances,” Mr Heffernan said.
“The three warnings and you’re out rule is a myth.”
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