How to Format a Workplace Complaint Letter

Let your boss know how you feel in a letter.

Let your boss know how you feel in a letter.

Whether you're sick of a co-worker's insensitivity or dislike a ridiculous company policy, writing a complaint letter can get you results. It's easy to scrawl a nasty note and drop it off anonymously on your boss's desk, but writing a professional complaint letter is definitely more effective. A properly formatted complaint letter can have the biggest influence on your boss or human resources department.

Open your word-processing program. Change the font to Times New Roman or Arial in 12-point size.

Type your full address and contact information on the left side at the top of the page. Include a phone number or email address, as well as today's date. If you want to write the letter anonymously or you work in the same office with the person to whom you're writing the complaint, you don't necessarily need to include this information. It's mostly helpful if you're writing to the company's corporate office or want someone to contact you.

Skip two lines and type the name of the person to whom you're writing, followed by her job title. On the next line, type the company name. Skip a line and type the address of the company.

Skip down two lines and type "Dear" followed by the letter's recipient. For example, "Dear John Smith:."

Skip another two lines and introduce yourself and state the reason for the letter of complaint. For instance, you might write "I work as the receptionist for XYZ company, and this letter serves as my formal complaint of discrimination by my co-worker, Sally Smith."

Create a new paragraph and describe how long you've been with the company in your current position. If you've written a letter or called about the complaint before this letter but received no response, mention that here. Write that you want to put the facts of your problem in official writing. Describe how often the problem occurs and, if applicable, mention that you've kept records or evidence of the problem.

Start a new paragraph and describe the problem about which you're complaining. Give a detailed, factual account of the problem. To make things easier for the recipient, consider describing events in a bulleted chronological list. Be specific, listing dates, times and names. For example, you might say "On January 21st, my co-worker, Sally Smith, said the following derogatory things to me..."

Skip two lines and describe the effect the problem has had on you. For instance, write "The hurtful statements of my co-worker caused me considerable distress and embarrassment that resulted in my lowered productivity and lost work time."

Make another paragraph and describe the solution you want the company to take. For example, you might write "I would like you to speak with my co-worker about her derogatory comments and ensure that this does not happen again."

Create a new paragraph, if desired, warning the recipient what will happen if she doesn't comply with your request. For instance, you might warn that you'll take the complaint to the recipient's supervisor if the situation isn't rectified.

Skip two lines and write a closing statement, such as "I look forward to receiving your response on this matter."

Type "Sincerely" on the next line. Skip two lines and type your name and the date. Leave room for your handwritten signature underneath your typed name.

Tip

  • You shouldn't threaten legal action in the first letter unless you have a very serious complaint. Save that for future letters if the situation isn't rectified.

Warning

  • Don't use negative or complaining language, as it will seem unprofessional to the recipient. For example, don't write something like "I demand that you fire everyone responsible for the incident" or "You need to hire people who aren't so rude."
 

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

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