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Help! My employer has given me an official warning. How should I respond to this?

What if you get an official warning. How do you deal with that?

Imagine that you received an official warning or perhaps you have received an official warning. What do you have to do then?

What is an official warning?

There is no definition of 'official warning' in the law. In general, an official warning means a written warning that is recorded in your personnel file. Your employer can use this to demonstrate how often and for what purpose you have received an official warning.

When will you receive an official warning?

Your employer can issue an official warning if undesirable behavior and / or actions have been detected and the employer wishes to record this. Due to the authority relationship between employer and employee, an employer may issue a warning.

How do you respond to an official warning?

In any case, always respond to a written warning. Respond with a registered letter or email with confirmation of receipt. In your response, mention all points that you do not agree with. Support your response with arguments why you do not agree with the warning. Receiving a written warning can trigger emotions, but make sure to stay businesslike anyway. You can do this, for example, by keeping your objection short and concise. Also have someone read along with the response you have prepared. To help you on your way, we have prepared a sample letter for you. Read the sample letter written warning here.

Request your employer to include your response in your personnel file. Keep a copy of your response yourself. Responding prevents a one-sided file structure. Multiple official warnings can precede a suspension or the employer can use these warnings in a dismissal procedure. If you have never responded to written warnings, only the employer's side will be highlighted in the file.

Is there an objection procedure? Pay attention to the deadline!

It may be that an objection procedure has been set up on the basis of your collective labor agreement or company regulations. Ask for this as soon as possible after receiving the warning. There may only be a short period of time to object, pay attention to this!

Do not sign if you do not agree with the content

Is your employer asking to agree to an official warning? Do not sign any documents if you do not agree with the content. A solution could be to sign the written warning 'as seen, disagreed'. You can also contact us first.


Do you have any questions? Then contact us. We can help you with this. We can be reached by telephone on 0345 - 851 963 and you can also email us via