31 Verbal Warning Scripts

Arley’s comments:

You’ve done some research and I like how you have included some examples. I like that you have also included visuals (though make sure that we have the copyright to any images that we use). However, right now this section has some source use issues. The writer takes a sentence from the source and swaps out some words. However, this a) still meets the definition of plagiarism and b) it can make the writing hard to read because sometimes two words that mean the same thing in the thesaurus have different connotations. It also makes it hard to build the brand voice. Using the brand voice and citing effectively will help with the source use issues. We will review this in class.

Judy’s comments:

Overall, there is a lot of valuable information here that is applicable to your audience however at times it becomes difficult to remain engaged due to numerous grammatical errors, an inconsistent brand voice, as well as inaccuracies in paraphrasing. We will be covering this topic in Week 9 which information, resources, and writing samples can be leveraged from to add to this page.


Learning Objectives

By the end of this section, you will learn:

  • What are verbal warning scripts?
  • What is the Purpose of Verbal Warning Scripts?
  • Recommendations for employees and supervisors.
  • Reasons for giving Verbal Warning to employees?
  • Effective ways to convey a verbal warning?
  • Applications of Verbal Warning Scripts.
  • Consequences for those who don’t follow verbal warnings.
  • Verbal warning samples.
  • Key takeaways

Key Points

  • When a person breaks organizational norms, verbal warning scripts are issued orally by management.
  • When an employee fails to meet company expectations, it is required.
  • A planned approach is necessary to convey it.
  • Verbal warnings should be clear and specific.

Verbal Warning Scripts

A Verbal warning, also known as a “verbal reprimand” or “oral reminder,” informs the employee that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.

A verbal warning is recorded in writing, usually in the employee’s personnel file. Even if an employee has already been counseled about a specific performance or behavior concern, a verbal warning is frequently the first meaningful wake-up call. It informs the employee that the problem has been brought to the attention of the corporation, rather than remaining a topic between the employee and his or her manager (Margaret Mader Clark, 2016).

A Verbal warning is a type of warning provided orally by management when a person violates organizational norms or policies. A Verbal warning is a disciplinary penalty taken against employees who have performed substandard work or committed malpractice (MBA Skool Team, 2016).

A Verbal warning is the first document in the formal disciplinary procedure, and it should include the same information as the initial talk, with a focus on the problem’s escalating seriousness. The consequences of failing to address the behavior/performance should be underlined, which could include probable termination of employment if no improvement is achieved. The employee should be urged to sign the warning and informed that it will be kept in his or her personnel file. The signed copy of the warning should be delivered to the organization’s personnel file administrator (Ryan, Michael L., 2014).

A supervisor’s disciplinary action against a subordinate employee is based on:-

  • Identifies identified performance flaws or wrongdoing verbally.
  • Expectations for performance are communicated.
  • It provides warnings about the repercussions of failing to improve and/or achieve expectations (Mary Wright, 2012).

There are two types of verbal warnings:-

  • Informal verbal warnings
  • Formal verbal warnings

The first incident of the warning is usually regarded as a casual one. This is an opportunity for the person in question to make amends for his actions. If he or she does not, a formal verbal warning is issued (MBA Skool Team, 2016).

Examples of Verbal Warnings

Following complaints about parking in a west Suffolk town, verbal warnings and penalties were given. Suffolk Constabulary responded to complaints from residents in the Exning Road area of New – market. Officers took to the streets to enforce parking laws as part of a larger police patrol in the region. Two parking penalties and four verbal warnings were issued to motorists because of the subsequent police crackdown. “This issue of parking was raised by residents in the area, and officers were tasked with performing regular patrols, advising, and enforcement in the area as part of wider patrols in the area,” a Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said. “Vehicles parked on the pavement received two tickets, and other vehicles received four verbal warnings” (PR Script Managers, 2018).

The Purpose of a Verbal Warning

  • Notify an employee that they are failing to fulfill company expectations and that failure to change could result in disciplinary action.
  • Correct or modify the observed behavior (Mary Wright, 2012).
  • Persuade a fellow employee to modify his or her ways.
  • To bring a performance or disciplinary issue to the employee’s notice in a serious but courteous manner to correct it.
  • To address a performance issue by talking to the employee about it and keeping a written record of the conversation (Gentry, Joyce B., 2005).

Who is the one who issued the verbal warning?

A Verbal warning is usually given by an employee’s direct supervisor.

  • It can, however, be issued by any employer agent in a higher position than the employee.
  • The warning should be delivered in a private setting. Unless it’s an emergency, of course (Mary Wright, 2012).

Supervisor’s recommendations:-

  1. Verbal warnings should never be issued via email; instead, they should only be communicated in person (National Labor Relations Board, 2008).
  2. Recognize any instances of misbehavior or poor performance.
  3. Explain that the behavior is against company policy, represents misbehavior, or displays poor performance.
  4. Make a specific request for change, such as immediate, sustainable progress within the next 30 days, etc.
  5. Determine the exact impact of failing to satisfy expectations.
  6. The verbal warning should specify how or what will be done to address the behavior. For example, you could ask the employee to:
  • Get more training or coaching,
  • Have a productive conversation with co-workers or supervisors.
  • Enhance your work practices or ethics (Mary Wright, 2012).

The Verbal Warning: A Practice Manager’s Guide

For experienced managers who have been in the field for a few years, the sequence of verbal, first written, final written warning, and dismissal may seem completely natural.

But how do you record a “Verbal Warning,” because it must be recorded to be a legal sanction, but isn’t it then a First Written Warning?

It is important for the Practice Manager and other “people managers” to have a thorough understanding of your practice’s disciplinary process and what it requires. This could look something like this:-

  • Informal Stage:-When an employee’s behaviour requires attention for the first time, the employee should be notified informally to allow them the opportunity to change. Most often, this will take the shape of a casual meeting between the manager and the employee. After that, the employee should receive a letter confirming what was discussed in the meeting.
  • First Formal Stage:-You can proceed to the first formal step if the employee continues to engage in the behaviour/action indicated in the Informal Stage. A thorough investigation should be conducted, a disciplinary hearing should be scheduled, and the employee should be given notice of the hearing and the right to be present. A First Written Warning may be issued during the hearing.
  • Second Formal Stage:-If the employee’s conduct or behaviors do not improve, you can proceed to the second formal level. A thorough investigation should be conducted, and the employee should be given notice of the hearing as well as the opportunity to be represented. A Final Written Warning may be issued at the hearing.
  • Third Formal Stage:-An employee may be terminated for misbehavior at this final formal stage of the misconduct management process. Notice of the hearing, the right to representation, and the right to appeal the decision should all be followed according to the ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service) Code of Practice (Rigby, 2020).

Recommendation for Employ

An employer is required to keep a written record of everything they do:-

  • The performance flaw or misconduct that was witnessed,
  • The time and location of the observation,
  • What was stated to (and by) the employee, and when, and how?
  • The time span for improvement (Mary Wright, 2012).

When should you provide a verbal warning?

  • Review the company’s policy.
  • Consult your human resources department.
  • Think about how similar issues have been handled in the past.
  • Assess the severity of the problem.

Note:- (In the case of extreme wrongdoing, immediate firing may be the best option.) Many first-time performance and attendance issues, on the other hand, are best addressed in a coaching session (Margaret Mader Clark, 2016).

You will require:-

  • Company handbook
  • Meeting time
  • Witness
  • Warning documentation (Howcast, 2011).

Reasons for giving verbal warnings to employees

  • The employee has failed to meet or exceed the manager’s expectations.
  • The individual was found guilty of inappropriate behaviour that contradicted the company’s culture.
  • Even after receiving additional training, support, and coaching, they perform poorly.
  • It infringes on the universal code of ethics.
  • Because of unethical conduct
  • Acting against the organization’s best interests
  • Inappropriate conduct (Harry, 2021)
  • Poor work standards, such as a high number of errors.
  • They are unable to follow directions provided to them.
  • Struggling to keep up with their workload.
  • Lack of effort or ambition
  • Inadequate skills or training for the job.

Declare and convey a verbal warning.

To deal with this type of situation, every company should have its own set of rules and procedures. Within the organization, there are informal verbal warnings. Managers must follow existing agreements before delivering a verbal warning so that employees understand and identify the situation and take appropriate and appropriate action (Harry, 2021).

In a circumstance like this, every organization should have a well-established policy and procedure. It is a delicate thing to give an employee a verbal or written warning at work. You must follow a set of processes outlined by “Harry” to ensure that the employee understands the gravity of the situation and responds accordingly.

  • Make a record of it:-For the duration of the meeting or at the time of the meeting with the worker, the verbal documentation must be written. Waiting until later or the next day has an impact on the first impression of the paperwork because it is primarily based on what the manager remembers.
  • Plan the conversation:-You can not script the entire debate beforehand, like you can not when giving punishment. However, you should think about how to start the conversation and the tone you want to strike. A Verbal warning is a formal disciplinary step, unlike a coaching session, which an employee may not even perceive as discipline. If you have opted to provide a verbal warning, you are either dealing with a reoccurring issue or a one-time occurrence that is bad enough to proceed past the coaching stage of the disciplinary system. Furthermore, you should start the conversation in a way that emphasizes the seriousness of the situation to the employee without making him or her feel attacked (Margaret Mader Clark, 2016).
  • Poor work performance necessitating a verbal reprimand:-A supervisor or manager may issue a verbal warning due to poor work performance or a variety of other factors. Many employees spend their time at work without engaging in other activities. Some employees take unnecessary vacations, arrive late to work, or do not work the requisite number of hours, all of which are deemed poor work performance, prompting the manager to issue a verbal warning.

According to Harry, “The following are three golden rules for providing a verbal warning: Always keep it short and sweet, deliver your message clearly, and never threaten. If a supervisor does not act on the suggestions, he or she is expected to state the facts, inform the employee about the problem, and show a time-bound path forward”.

  • Notify the employees:-It is the manager’s responsibility to inform the personnel about the nature of the private meeting. Employees do not feel threatened when they know they will be meeting to discuss their mistakes, and they have time to assemble their ideas.
  • Set a goal for the workers:-To avoid unnecessary disciplinary action, give your employees specific instructions on how to improve. For example, in this action, the manager should set an example for employees by being punctual throughout office hours (Howcast, 2011).
  • Keep a copy of the verbal warning document in your personnel file:-After going through all these steps, a manager must keep track of everything that happened during the verbal warning and the date it was given to the employees. Also, keep a copy of the verbal warning document in the Human Resources file of the staff. Furthermore, management should make it clear what the nature of the transgression is and what the employee must do to rectify the issue (Mary Wright, 2012).
  • Allow them to explain themselves:-Managers should allow time for employees to present an explanation for themselves so that the process can continue in a genuine and reasonable manner.
  • Follow-up:-The major goal of sending a verbal warning letter is to achieve a goal that will aid the organization’s smooth operation. If an employee receives a verbal warning for poor performance, it is the employer’s responsibility to ascertain whether the employee has started working on the recommendation (Harry, 2021).

How should a verbal warning be delivered?

Steps to Issue Verbal Warning

Verbal warnings are used in coaching and mentoring.

Communication is such a vast and all-encompassing subject that no single chapter, much less a book, can possibly cover all its aspects in the workplace or elsewhere. The objective of verbal warning, on the other hand, is to address common workplace opportunities for leaders to develop their employees’ capabilities. When it comes to employment offenses (inspiration, engagement, and positive recognition) and defenses (workplace harassment, tough conversations, resetting expectations, and when desired performance or behaviour results are not reached, consequences must be addressed) is something that can be examined by the following techniques:-

  • Specific Use real-life examples
  • Balanced
  • On-time
  • Consistent

Employees can be trained in the following ways:-

Step 1: Issue a verbal warning (which may be documented for the sake of clarity and confirmation)

Step 2: Issue a formal written warning.

Step 3: Issue a written final warning (Falcone, 2016).

The most effective approach to issue a verbal warning

Giving a verbal warning necessitates planning ahead of time, meeting with the employee, documenting, and following up. When delivering a verbal warning, though, the details are a little different. You will want to explain that there is a genuine problem, but you will also want to make it apparent that you believe the employee can change. You will also need to create documentation and follow up in a more planned manner than you would for a coaching session, maximizing the employee’s chances of success while also building a more complete history to back up your judgments and actions. In either case, be ready with facts demonstrating the severity of the problem and the importance of immediate improvement.

  • Examine the facts.
  • Go over previous interactions.
  • Think about what did not work (Margaret Mader Clark, 2016).

What happens if employees disobey verbal warnings?

If employees do not take the necessary steps to change their conduct or improve their work performance, the next step should be a formal verbal or written warning.

The next stage is to ensure that the employee is truthful and consistent with the task that is assigned to them. Furthermore, it is the responsibility or recommendation of employers to put complaints and all relevant laws and regulations in public documents that are accessible to all employees and workers (Bright HR, 2021).

The first step in any disciplinary action that leads to an employee’s dismissal is a verbal warning. A written warning is usually followed by a verbal warning.

If the workers’ performance does not improve after a series of verbal warnings, the employers should go to the next phase, which is formal verbal and written warnings, to enhance the workers’ performance. All disciplinary actions, however, differ from company to company and are dependent on the nature of the offense.

Employees should also check the performance of their co-workers to see if they are following the rules or not.

Every company has its own HR handbook in which all the needed actions are spelled out before an employee is fired. A Verbal warning may be the first, last, or only action required in many companies (Heathfield, 2019).

The disciplinary action that is appropriate for any misconduct depends upon several factors, including the length of the associate’s service and prior disciplinary records, the seriousness of the misconduct, and the impact on the workplace. The disciplinary action which is administered for any act or acts of misconduct rests in the sole discretion of any organization.

The following list is a guideline of some of the more obvious types of conduct which may result in disciplinary action (Ryan, Michael L., 2014).

Absence without permission Verbal to written warning Written warning Termination
Unjustified tardiness or failure to adhere to work hours on a regular basis Written warning to termination Termination
Leaving the designated work area without permission Written warning to termination Termination
At any time, for any reason, threatening, coercing, or frightening another associate Written warning to termination Termination
Loitering or loafing Verbal Warning Written warning Termination
Excessive use of personal time at work, such as phone calls and meetings Verbal Warning Written warning Termination
Use of language that is vulgar, profane, obscene, or abusive Written warning to termination Termination
Harassment or unethical behaviour at work Termination
Violation of safety rules, negligence, or engaging in dangerous activities Written warning to termination Termination
Unauthorized posting, distribution, or soliciting of materials or services on organization property Verbal to written warning Written warning to termination Termination
Insubordination Written warning to termination Termination
Wearing inappropriate attire or equipment Written warning Written warning to termination Termination
False statements or falsification of records Written warning to termination Termination
Interference with the activities of other organizations Verbal warning Written warning Termination
Damage or improper usage of the organization Written warning to termination Termination
Sleeping or giving the appearance of sleeping while on duty Written warning to termination Termination
A breach of trust in an organization is serious. Written warning to termination Termination
While on duty, unauthorized possession of a firearm, an illegal weapon, or a knife with a blade longer than 2.5 inches is prohibited. Termination
Fighting Termination
Physical or verbal abuse or harassment of a customer, visitor, or associate Termination
Disrespecting or threatening a leader Written warning to termination Termination
Possession or intoxication with alcohol, non-prescribed medication Termination
Unauthorized possession, use, or removal of an organization’s or someone else’s property Termination
Arrest or conviction for a felony Termination
Plea of guilty or theft, drug law violations, sexual misbehavior, or a crime of moral turpitude Termination

In the case of verbal warnings, there are policies, discipline, and degrees of discipline.

1. Policy:- Employees who break the regulations outlined in the Classified Employee Handbook’s Employee Conduct section will be penalized in a timely, fair, equitable, and consistent manner.

2. Strict Discipline:- Employees may be encouraged to address undesirable behaviour and follow the rules of employee conduct through the implementation of a progressive punishment system. Georgia Tech maintains the right to choose the actions that are required based on all factors in each case.

  • Verbal Caution
  • Warning in Writing
  • Suspension of Disciplinary Action
  • Final Warning in Writing (exempt employees)
  • Investigative Suspension
  • Termination

3. Degrees of Discipline:- Discipline degrees have been developed, and they are meant to ensure that employees can improve their performance. There is no defined number of verbal warnings that must be provided before a written warning is issued, or how many written warnings must be issued before termination. Consider the following factors:-

  • The degree and range of issues involved.
  • The depth of the offense.
  • The length of time since a previous disciplinary action was taken, as well as the employee’s reaction to it (s).
  • Employees previous work experience.

Suggestions on how to prepare effective verbal warning scripts.

  • Describe the problem.
  • Describe the wrongdoing/problem in detail.
  • Include the time and date of the activity.
  • Explain the cause of the warning in a direct and honest manner.
  • Be specific when describing the error.
  • Mention the corporate policies and how they relate to the misbehavior.
  • Describe appropriate behaviour – what is expected of you.
  • Communicate the modifications that must be made to the employee.
  • Be transparent about your expectations of the employee.
  • Clearly define the consequences of repeated behaviour/actions, including the type and severity of discipline.
  • Keep records on the conversation to have a record of it(Kwantlen Polytechnic University, 2021)

A verbal warning letter contains the following:-

  • Date
  • Address
  • Name
  • Meeting Date
  • Outcomes of the meeting
  • Supervisor of meeting
  • Explanation of the misconduct
  • Nature of the misconduct
  • Which improvement is needed?
  • Company address and title
  • Employee name and designation.

Verbal Warning Samples

Sample 1

Letter confirming verbal warning (discipline)

Add/delete information in brackets as appropriate.

[add date]

Private and confidential

[add address]

Dear [add name]

I am writing to outline our discussion and confirm the outcome of our meeting on [add date], which was convened to discuss your conduct.

At the meeting, [[add name]] was also present]. [add name] accompanied you to the meeting, or you [asked not to be accompanied to the meeting].

I informed you of the company’s displeasure with your actions. You’ll recall that we talked about [describe the specific nature of the wrongdoing or complaint, as well as any earlier discussions].

I informed you that we required you to [describe the needed change, how it will be accomplished, and any support that will be provided]. Your behaviour will be attentively tracked for the next [state period], and on [add date], the “review date,” you will be evaluated.

This letter confirms that you were issued a verbal warning in accordance with the company’s discipline procedure. This warning will be kept on file, but after [6] months, it will be considered “spent” for disciplinary purposes. If your behaviour does not improve by the review date, or if there is any [additional misconduct/cause for complaint] of a similar sort while this warning is active, you will face further disciplinary action, which may include a written warning.

You have the opportunity to appeal this decision in accordance with business processes. If you desire to appeal, you must write to [add name and title of person who will deal with the appeal] at [add address] within five working days of receiving this letter, outlining your reasons.

Yours sincerely,

[add name]

Sample 2

Attendance Warning Letter

[company letterhead]



c/o [company name]

Re: Frequency of Time Missed at work

This letter is to confirm our meeting on DATE, which was held to examine your attendance record for the previous 6 MONTHS. Employees are expected to remain absent from work for appropriate amounts of time owing to valid reasons.

Permanent staff, on the other hand, are expected to be accessible on a continuous, full-time basis. Your attendance record shows that you have missed work X (X) times in the last 6 months, resulting in an X percent absenteeism rate.

The dates on which you were gone for a whole day are as follows:



Employees who do not maintain a suitable level of attendance will be informed of their shortcomings and will be required to make an effort to improve their attendance at work. This letter serves as formal notice that we expect you to improve your attendance at work in the future. If you have a pattern of poor attendance, you will be placed in the attendance management program-me, which may jeopardize your job.

We wish you the best of luck in establishing that you are capable of showing up for work on a regular and consistent basis. Please contact me directly if you have any queries about this letter or require assistance with attending work on a regular and consistent basis.


Sample 3

Placement on Attendance Management Letter

[company letterhead]



c/o [company name]


We last met on DATE, and you were informed that your attendance was not up to the mark.

You have not improved your attendance record since this meeting, and as a result, you have been placed on the attendance management [frequency or severity] program-me.

We will meet with you on a monthly basis for the next six (6) months to examine your attendance record. Over the course of this time, we will provide you with coaching and support in order to help you improve your attendance at work.

Your attendance record shows that you have missed work NUMBER OF DAYS (x) times in the last 6 months—this is a percent absenteeism rate that is higher than our company’s typical absenteeism rate.

The dates on which you were gone for a whole day are as follows:



Please keep in mind that as an employee, you must attend work on a regular and consistent basis and utilize your employer’s services.

Your satisfaction will be jeopardized if you continue to fail to show up for work on a regular and continuous basis.


We wish you the best of luck in establishing that you are capable of showing up for work on a regular and consistent basis. Please contact me directly if you have any queries about this letter or require assistance with attending work on a regular and consistent basis.


Key Takeaways

  • In a business setting, verbal warnings should be delivered calmly, impartially, clearly, and quietly.
  • An effective verbal warning improves organizational transparency and effectiveness.
  • The goal of a verbal warning is to draw attention to employees’ performance and motivate them to complete their tasks.


Bright HR. (2021). What is an informal verbal warning? Informal Verbal Warnings. Retrieved from https://www.brighthr.com/articles/employee-conduct/warnings/informal-verbal-warnings/

Falcone, P. (2016). 75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees. United States: AMACOM. Retrieved from https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/75_Ways_for_Managers_to_Hire_Develop_and/5ZHxCwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

Gentry, Joyce B. (2005). HR How-to Discipline, Everything You Need to Know about Implementing an Effective Employee Discipline Program. CCH. Retrieved from https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/HR_How_to/hRBhkC-0zBcC?hl=en&gbpv=0

Harry. (2021). Verbal Warning At Work. How to issue an effective informal verbal warning at work to the employees, do’s and don’ts, and What to do if they don’t improve? Retrieved from https://orbitcareers.com/verbal-warning-at-work/

Heathfield, S. (2019). How to Issue a Verbal Warning for Poor Performance. Performance Appraisals Don’t Work-What Does?, (Spring 2007): 6-9,47. Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/openview/1bc17aee492e9820cd84deb9e28fb2b8/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=37083

Howcast. (2011). How to give verbal warning at work. Retrieved from https://www.howcast.com/videos/428119-how-to-give-a-verbal-warning-at-work


Kwantlen Polytechnic University. (2021, July 8). Performance Management and verbal/written warnings. Retrieved from HRMT 5120 Week 9 Powerpoint Presentation: https://courses.kpu.ca/course/view.php?id=50091&section=13#tabs-tree-start

Margaret Mader Clark, L. G. (2016). The Employee Performance Handbook: Smart Strategies for Coaching Employees. United States: NOLO. Retrieved from https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/The_Employee_Performance_Handbook/TNdUCwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

Mary Wright. (2012). How to Deliver a Verbal Warning to an Employee (Plus Talking Points). How to delvier a verbal warning, Slide 1-13.

MBA Skool Team. (2016, May 24). Verbal Warning. Retrieved from Mbaskool.com: https://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/human-resources-hr-terms/16155-verbal-warning.html

National Labor Relations Board. (2008). Decisions and Orders of the National Labor Relations Board. United States: The Board. Retrieved from https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Decisions_and_Orders_of_the_National_Lab/wW58tlyISxQC?hl=en&gbpv=0

PR Script Managers. (2018, November 5). Verbal warnings and tickets were issued following complaints… [Derived Headline]. East Anglian Daily Times; Ipswich (UK). Retrieved from https://ezproxy.kpu.ca:2443/login?url=https://www-proquest-com.ezproxy.kpu.ca:2443/newspapers/verbal-warnings-tickets-were-issued-following/docview/2129388057/se-2?accountid=35875

Rigby, S. (2020). A Practice Manager’s guide to the Verbal Warning. Do you and your practice still give “Verbal Warnings”? Did you know that it is no longer in the ACAS Code of Practice and could be considered “old fashioned”? Retrieved from

Ryan, Michael L. (2014). Don’t Manage ‘Em–Lead ‘Em! A Briefcase of Practical, By-The-Numbers Approaches to Leading Associates in the Workplace. iUniverse. Retrieved from https://www.google.co.in/books/edition/Don_t_Manage_Em_Lead_Em/bGOqAwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0



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