Letter of Reprimand for Employee Performance

A Letter of Reprimand is a procedure including a letter written to an employee from their supervisor that details the employee’s wrongful actions and the consequences of those actions, up to and including employment termination. In the U.S. Department of Defense, a Letter of Reprimand is a procedure involving a letter to an employee or service member from their superior that details the wrongful actions of the person and the punishment that can be expected.

A letter of reprimand should detail the employee’s inappropriate actions or performance problem, as well as the consequences of a lack of improvement. It is part of a procedure in which an employee has been coached and counseled regarding the issue, but has not shown improvement in the areas required as set forth by their immediate supervisor.

These letters are a significant step in a formal process of disciplinary action. They are meant to document inappropriate behaviors or unacceptable performance. Formally documenting the behavior or performance issue provides proof of warning in the case an employee must be terminated for failing to correct the stated behavior or performance problem.

A letter of reprimand is a professional document that details an employee’s problem and its consequences. It should include:

  • Statement of Formal reprimand
  • Detailed reason for the reprimand
  • Explanation of how the issue is causing workplace problems
  • Ways in which the company has attempted to correct the issue
  • If applicable, a time limit for improvement
  • Detailed consequences of continued problems
  • Expression of hope the employee will correct the problems and succeed
  • Supervisor’s signature
  • Employee’s signature
  • Disclaimer

Letter of Reprimand Format

Here is a basic format for a letter of reprimand.

To: {employee name}

From: {supervisor name}

Date: {date written}

Re: Letter of Reprimand

This is a formal letter of reprimand for {behavior or performance issue}. {Use this area to describe the ways in which the employee is demonstrating inappropriate behavior or performance problems. Note the employee handbook information applicable to the situation, when possible. Discuss performance standards when appropriate.}

{Use this area to document the ways in which the supervisor has offered opportunities to improve performance or correct the problematic behavior. Be clear and comprehensive. Also document the ways in which the employee’s behavior or performance problem is affecting the entire workplace.}

{Use this area to discuss your timeline for improvement. Be clear about the consequences the employee can expect if improvement is not shown during the time period provided.}

{Use this area to express your hope that the behaviors or problems will be corrected.}

{supervisor signature}

{supervisor name}

{date signed}

Acknowledgement of Receipt: {employee signature}

By signing, I acknowledge that I have received this formal letter of reprimand. My signature does not necessarily indicate that I agree with the content of this letter of reprimand. I understand that a copy of this letter will be filed in the human resources department. I also understand that I may file a written rebuttal to this letter of reprimand, which will be attached to this letter upon receipt.

Sample Letter of Reprimand

Here is a sample letter of reprimand based on the format above.

To: Michael Jones

From: Lawrence Smith

Date: January 25, 2032

Re: Letter of Reprimand

This is a formal letter of reprimand for your inability or unwillingness to perform your job within acceptable standards. We offered you the booklet of acceptable performance standards when you accepted your position with our company. You consistently fall short. You fill only 65% of the material requisitions you must fill to meet acceptable standards.

In addition to providing you with an outline of appropriate performance standards, we have provided you with additional on-the-job training and coaching. Your performance problems are creating crisis situations for your coworkers and slowing our production rate. As a consequence, we have received complaints regarding your work from production employees who must wait for materials to resume production.

In spite of the coaching and training we have provided, your performance rate has not improved. We fully expect you will show immediate improvement in your job performance. We are allowing you a total of two weeks to work your way to 100% of acceptable performance standards. If you are unwilling or unable to improve within this time, your employment will be terminated.

We always want our employees to succeed. We hope to continue working with you.

Lawrence Smith

Acknowledgement of Receipt: Michael Jones

By signing, I acknowledge that I have received this formal letter of reprimand. My signature does not necessarily indicate that I agree with the content of this letter of reprimand. I understand that a copy of this letter will be filed in the human resources department. I also understand that I may file a written rebuttal to this letter of reprimand, which will be attached to this letter upon receipt.

Letter of Reprimand (Examples & Templates)

In addition to having clear standards for behavior and performance, all companies should have a clear policy for disciplinary action. An important part of this policy is maintaining a basic format for a letter of reprimand. We have provided a format for this important document above. The sample letter demonstrates how you can use the format to create a formal letter of reprimand.

Letter of Reprimand for Unprofessional Behavior

A letter of reprimand for unprofessional behavior is a disciplinary document detailing the particular unprofessional behavior for which the employee is being reprimanded. It should also detail the consequences of the behavior. Use the particular policy name or page number in the employee handbook when reprimanding an employee for unprofessional behavior.
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  • MS Word

Letter of Reprimand for Misconduct

A letter of reprimand for misconduct is a formal disciplinary document detailing the situation(s) in which an employee has demonstrated misconduct as outlined in a formal policy. Note the policy name, number, and the date(s) on which the employee demonstrated stated misconduct. Clearly delineate the consequences of this behavior.
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  • MS Word

Letter of Reprimand for Teacher

A letter of reprimand for a teacher is a formal document that is part of a clearly stated employee conduct policy. When you write a formal reprimand, be as clear as possible regarding the date(s) of the inappropriate action and the consequences of that action. Be sure to note the policy name or page number in the employee handbook that applies to the action.
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Letter of Reprimand for Insubordination

A letter of reprimand for insubordination is a formal reprimand that is part of a larger disciplinary program. A letter of reprimand for insubordination is a document most commonly used by the US DoD. This letter details the date and the particular act for which the service member is being disciplined, as well as the punishment they can expect to receive.
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Conclusion

Being required to write a letter of reprimand places you in an uncomfortable situation. Having a basic format for a letter of reprimand to document employee issues in a consistent way makes that situation a bit less stressful. Feel free to use the format we have provided to create your letters of reprimand.