In most workplaces, when an employee commits an act or neglects an essential duty, a procedure is in place for reprimanding the employee. In many instances, a formal reprimand letter is given to the employee and placed in her file to serve as a record of the offense. If you have been given a letter of reprimand, you usually have the option to respond to it in writing. This appeal letter may be filed with the reprimand in your permanent record.
When you respond to the letter of reprimand, stick to the facts and avoid making personal attacks. Explain why you feel the the accusations are inaccurate or false using concrete details. Mention any witnesses who can corroborate your version of events and offer any evidence that you have to support your case. Close the letter by making a concrete request for the reprimand letter to be removed from your file and for any punishments to be reversed or canceled.
When writing an appeal letter for a written reprimand, it is very important to strike the right tone. While you may feel angry and victimized by the allegations, avoid sounding defensive because this may prevent the audience from feeling sympathetic about the situation. On the other hand, do not plead with the audience or beg for the punishment to be reversed because the audience may lose respect for you as an employee. Instead, use a factual, unemotional tone. This tone lets the employer know that you are calm and reasonable and it may make them more likely to consider your appeal.
If your employer provides a template for your appeal letter or a form to use, stick to the prescribed format. This shows the employer that you are professional and that you are aware of the rules and are willing to follow them. If no prescribed format is used, be sure to use a proper business letter format. A well formatted letter lends the impression of professionalism, which is important if you want your appeal to be taken seriously.
When writing your appeal letter, remember that other supervisors or administrators will probably read your letter. Keep a wider audience in mind as you write. Things about the characteristics of the administration and what types of evidence is likely to persuade them before you begin. In addition to considering the audience, it is important to turn in the letter in a timely manner. In most cases, employees are given a limited amount of time to respond to a letter of reprimand. Responding on time also makes you look more professional.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.