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Verbal and written warnings: Do you know when to use them?

by , 05 March 2015
As an employer, you have the right to apply sanctions depending on the severity of the act or the circumstances under which is committed.

You have four options you can use:

- a verbal warning
- a written warning
- a final written warning
- a dismissal.

Note! In the Disciplinary Code you have to explain the order of the warnings! Can they be followed by a dismissal? Can the dismissal only be applied after a written warning?

Make sure everything is stated correctly!

But as a general rule, you should know that a first offense can be sanctioned by a verbal warning, whilst any misconduct after that should be followed by a written warning.

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Here are the elements you should include in a warning:

-  the identity of both parties
-   the nature of, date of and time of the offense
-   the terms of the warning and validity period
-   clear statement of what action is required of the guilty party to rectify the situation
-   clear statement of the consequences of the guilty party's failure to take heed of the requirements of the warning or of repeated offenses (of similar or other misconduct)

Take into consideration that a verbal warning is generally applied for a very minor offense and the details of a verbal warning shouldn't be placed on the employee's personal file.
When do you use a written warning?

Here are the possible situations:

-   a verbal warning has failed to produce the desired result, therefore necessitating stricter action,
-   or if the offense for which a verbal warning was issued has been repeated
-   or if there have been repeated offenses of other misconduct,
-   or if the offense (even a first offense ) is considered serious enough to warrant disciplinary action stricter that a verbal warning.

Also remember that you can dismiss your employee for his first offense! This depends on the severity of offence, the circumstances and the provisions of the employer's Disciplinary Code.

Follow the correct procedure before issuing a written warning.

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