Issuing a written warning letter for tardiness is no different from any other disciplinary letter. The facts are the facts and making sure everyone is treated fairly is as important as always. When it comes to tardiness, however, I continue to hear people ask the question what is consider tardy?
I can only tell you how I have always treated tardiness in my over forty years in a leadership role.
First of all there is no grace period for being late! If there was then everyone would be late! If the employees start time is 8:00 am, then anything one second or more past 8:00 am is considered tardy!
Once you have established that someone is tardy the issue becomes how many times will you allow it prior to taking some type of disciplinary action, such as a written warning letter? Issuing a written warning letter for being one second late on one occasion might be a little harsh. Actually it is insane! However, being tardy three times in a one month period would merit a warning letter in my opinion, even if it was only a few minutes each time.
In order to be fair and consistent you must establish some guidelines. Those guidelines can be whatever you like but must be followed fairly and consistently. If you don't that is a sure fire way to end up with an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) claim. If you have never been through an EEOC investigation it is an experience you will not want to have, even if you are doing everything correctly. I have been through one and was found to be doing everything correctly but it was pure hell! Lot of paper work!
So how do we compose a written warning letter for tardiness?
Start with identifying what the discipline letter is for:
This written warning letter is for violating our company policy on tardiness.
Second go into the details of what the violation was:
Specifically, you were tardy on three occasions; six minutes on June 2, 2011, eight minutes on June 24, 2011, and again eleven minutes on July 5, 2011. On November 4, 2010, you received and signed for a copy of our employee handbook that covers our policy on attendance and tardiness.
Third you will want to clarify the correct behavior:
Mr. Doe, it is critical that you report to work on time and ready to begin your scheduled shift prior to your start time. There is no grace period.
Fourth you will want to inform the employee what will happen if this or any violations occur in the future:
Any further violations of this policy or any policy may result in additional disciplinary action up to and including possible termination.