Warning at work: IMPACT

The warning is a reprimand from the employer to the employee, a forewarning from the employer to encourage the employee to change his behaviour.

By issuing a warning, the employer gives the employee a second (or additional) chance, avoiding termination of employment.

The employer, who issues a warning to punish the employee for a fact, will no longer be able to dismiss him/her for that same fact.

However, the employer can only invoke this fact in support of a termination if a new fact has occurred subsequently. The warning strengthens the employer’s position.

The Labour Code does not regulate warnings: they are therefore not subject to any particular formalism.

Our advice:

On the employer’s side:

    Notify the warning within a reasonable period of time by registered letter or hand-delivered against signature in two copies (one for the employer and one for the employee) after being made aware of the alleged offence;

  • Write the warning in a language understood by the employee;
  • Mention that it is a warning;
  • Specify the exact fault that is alleged;
  • Remind the employee of his or her duties;
  • Indicate the precise consequences of the alleged grievance (or even remind the employee of previous warnings if there are any).

On the employee’s side:

  • It is recommended to contest the warning by registered letter;
  • Repeat the grievance or grievances point by point, setting out the facts;
  • Indicate that you formally contest the fact(s) of which you are accused.

When the employee contests the validity of the warnings, the employer must provide the evidence.

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