How to Write a Better Disciplinary Outcome Letter - Vista
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How to Write a Better Disciplinary Outcome Letter

The first hard and fast rule of writing a disciplinary outcome letter is to be clear and specific. This is a challenge when you have already made a whole host of decisions to get to the outcome, including:

  • What actually happened?
  • Did what happened breach any relevant policies or rules?
  • Has misconduct taken place?
  • Do we need a sanction?
  • What is the most appropriate sanction?

So how on earth do you gather all of these decisions together into a killer outcome letter? Here’s our 3 top tips for HR teams and managers:

  1. Be clear, specific and get to the point

Start constructing your letter by introducing what the employee is alleged to have done. If you have decided they have committed misconduct, don’t prolong the agony, dive straight into your decision.

  1. Show your workings

Explain how you have reached your decision by clearly setting out the specifics, make reference to the evidence in the investigation report, submissions from the employee and your policies. The policy or rule that has been allegedly breached should take centre stage here together with the evidence that you have relied upon to reach your decision.

Remember to first decide whether the allegations are well founded and then, if so, move on to consider sanction.

If there is a sanction, be sure to:

  • Tell them how long it will last.
  • Tell them the improvement required.
  • Be respectful – but clear about the consequences of any further breaches.

There’s loads more detail on the specifics of the letter for managers in 10to3’s disciplinary collection of videos here, as well as guidance on managing an appeal here.

  1. Finally, beware of the template letter

Always an enticing time saver and confidence booster, template letters can often be too generic and leave room for mistakes. So, by all means grab the template as a starting point, but work hard to get the detail of your case in there. As an example of generic template letters in action, we have put together this disciplinary outcome letter:

Dear Fred

I am writing to confirm the outcome of the disciplinary hearing which you attended on 2nd September with myself and Chris Smith.

The following allegations were put to you:

  • Breach of health and safety

I have considered the investigation report and your own submissions during the disciplinary hearing and have decided that your actions do amount to gross misconduct. As such the only appropriate disciplinary sanction was dismissal without notice your final day of work was therefore the 2nd September.

Should you wish to appeal against this decision, you should do so by addressing your appeal to Michael Michaelson, stating the grounds on which you wish to appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Steven Stephenson


It looks pretty good on the surface, right?

There is actually plenty to improve on here. This guidance document has been put together by our employment lawyers, it includes the letter you see above, plus a critical eye on what can be improved to get your disciplinary template letter match fit – every time. It’s a great print out for your desk or to share with your managers! You can download it for free here.

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