How to Respond to a Written Warning

Three Methods:Responding to PoliceResponding to EmployersResponding at School

Written warnings can be distributed for several reasons. You can get a written warning from a police officer in lieu of a ticket. You can also get a written warning from an employer or school supervisor about a disciplinary issue. These written warnings require different responses.

Method 1
Responding to Police

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    Receive your warning. If you get pulled over for a traffic violation, police officers have the option of giving you a written warning in lieu of a ticket. This is likely to happen if you have no previous traffic violations and the violation was not severe.
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    Stay calm. Read over your written warning. It will list the offence, the officer’s name, and the location of the violation. Depending on the state, it may also show the potential consequences for a ticket for your violation.
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    Stay out of trouble. Luckily, you don’t have any fines from your written warning. If you had gotten a ticket, this would have been different. Warnings are simply given to remind you that you can’t perform that action.
    • Written warnings can be recorded. Although they won’t make your insurance rates go up, they will come up if you happen to get pulled over again.
    • If you’ve already received a written warning, you’ll likely get an actual citation if you get pulled over for a similar violation.[1]

Method 2
Responding to Employers

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    Receive your warning. When an employer issues you a written warning, it is likely to be about a disciplinary issue. They do the written warning for themselves to have on record and to bring your attention to it. The warning should clearly state the specific performance issue. The warning may also include possible consequences likely to come if your performance doesn’t improve.[2]
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    Respond verbally. These written warnings will often be followed up by a conversation. This could come from either your employer or a supervisor. In this conversation, the problem will be discussed as well as potential changes to make to ensure there is no further problem.
    • Don’t get defensive. In this meeting, it will be smarter to own up to your mistake rather than fight about it. It will show responsibility and improved judgement.
    • If you truly feel that you are being wrongly accused, remember to stay calm when discussing it. Go into the meeting prepared to discuss valid points about the issue.
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    Have performance discussions. Depending on the severity of the issue, set up a follow-up discussion. This will be a good time to show your employer that you take the notice very seriously and that you’ve changed. If the issue has continued, your employer will be able to make you aware of it here, before having to issue another written warning. Treat meetings as an ongoing process rather than an isolated event.[3]
    • If they have to issue another written warning, your job could be on the line. The consequences should have been listed out in the original warning.[4]

Method 3
Responding at School

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    Receive your warning. If you get a written warning at school, you’ve most likely broken a rule that is part of your school code. There should be a school handbook available to you so that you can see the exact rule that they’ve accused you of breaking.
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    Make your parents aware. Now is the time to make your parents aware of what happened. Rather than waiting until you get into more trouble, let them know your side of the story and show them the warning. They can choose to be included in your future meetings about the warning if they wish.
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    Set up a meeting. Chances are if you have a written warning, either the school counselor or your teacher will expect you to have a meeting about it. This should follow within the same week of your written warning. In the meeting, you should discuss what happened, why it happened, and the consequences.
    • If you feel you were wrongly accused, calmly ask for a meeting with a member of the school board to discuss it. If your counselor or teacher doesn’t think this is necessary, ask them if they can revoke the warning.[5]
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    Schedule up a follow-up meeting. After your original meeting, you should set up a follow-up meeting to discuss the improvement of your behavior. This will help you stay focused on behaving, and will show them that you’re not planning on acting out again.

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Categories: Official Writing and Complaints