Oral reprimand

What is an oral reprimand?

An oral reprimand is a verbal warning that a supervisor or manager gives to an employee as a means of rectifying something wrong in an incident of inappropriate conduct or behavior. An oral reprimand is performed for a number of reasons. It provides the supervisor with a means of accurately but professionally articulating his or her concerns in a manner that commands a high level of respect from both the person receiving the warning and other employees. Additionally, it is a way for the manager or supervisor to attempt to correct the problem without having to fill out any formal paperwork so that the incident does not go on the record of the employee in question.

A written reprimand or verbal reprimand is supported by a document that is issued to the employee. You must secure approval of your Department Head before you issue a reprimand.

When to issue an oral reprimand?

1. Do not issue a separate oral reprimand to an employee for each violation he/she committed during the single incident. When an incident of misconduct occurs, cite all violations in one reprimand for such an incident. “Piling up” (which means writing separate reprimands for an employee due to his/her multiple violations during a single incident) is not permissible.

2. It is important that you gather all the pertinent details to describe the incident of misconduct. Namely, when (time and/or date of the incident), where did the incident occur, what happened, who was involved in the incident (including those present during the incident, if applicable). If witnesses were present, obtain witness statements of what they observed including the when/where/what/who.

3. Indicate (when applicable) previously documented misconduct (of any type) that has been committed by the employee and what past instructions, counselling, oral reprimands, etc., you have provided to the employee.

NOTE: Outdated reprimands are not to be referenced in the document. Verbal reprimand over one year or a written reprimand over two years old are not to be referenced unless listed otherwise in an applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement.

4. Indicate the applicable disciplinary levels as listed in the regulation for each infraction/violation. For example, there are four levels regarding Rudeness to Students, Staff, or the Public:

  • First occurrence: Oral Reprimand
  • Second occurrence: Written Reprimand
  • Third occurrence: Suspension
  • Fourth occurrence: Discharge
  • State where the reprimand will be filed. Oral reprimands are kept in the departmental file. Written reprimands may be sent over to Employee Relations to be placed in the employee’s official personnel file in Human Resources. If doing so, you must make the employee aware of this. You can state such in the document by stating in the closing “this written reprimand will be included in your personnel file in Human Resources” and/or cc: Human Resources Personnel File.
  • Indicate that any possible future misconduct on the employee’s part will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.
  • Make sure to copy your immediate supervisor

Also read: What is Sexual Harassment?

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