Write ups, negative performance reviews and warnings by employer

Different companies and employers have a very different approach to handling disciplinary actions against their employees. While some company simple don’t have any formal policy regarding write ups, warnings and other disciplinary actions against employees, other employer have a clear policy of progressive discipline that generally shall be followed by the employer prior to taking a more significant adverse employment action against an employee, such as transfer, demotion, suspension, or employment termination.

Many workers become very upset, stressed out and nervous about the stability of their employment when they get written up or get a negative performance review, especially if they believe (and have good reasons to believe) that the write-up was unfounded or retaliatory (in response to an exercise of a legal right by an employee such as taking approved medical leave, serving on a jury duty, filing a workers compensation claim, complaining about harassment at workplace, etc…) Many employee are afraid of disputing their write-up, believing that any further escalation of the situation will lead to termination. Thus, the prefer to remain quite and passive. However, in the vast majority of cases, this is not a good strategy to follow for two main reasons: first, if you are reprimanded and written up for no reasons, chances are that your supervisor already has a plan to get rid of you and simply creating the necessary paperwork to make it comply with the company’s policies regarding discipline and termination which are usually outlined in the handbook. Secondly, but not contesting the write-up, you practically admit the allegations/accusations made in the disciplinary documentation, which will make it much harder to argue later that your termination was not justified and was motivated by unlawful factors.

Thus, it is very important that upon receipt of a repriment, a warning letter, or a negative review, you submit a rebuttal as you are entitled, in which you will address and dispute every allegation made specifically. You should also seriously considering requesting your employer to conduct an investigation into the merits of your negative review. This means that responding with “this is not true” is not sufficient, and you should explain why the facts in the write-up are not correct and suggest your versionof the events/conduct that is subject of the negative performance review. This will build your own paper-trail which often proves to be useful or even crucial in handling a wrongful termination claim.