Hello, I am currently facing a challenge. I work in an IT firm as the HR Manager. The issue i'm having is one of the "senior" developers has been performing poorly for some time but the management had been making excuses for him and keeping him on board for sentimental reasons as he is one of the longest serving staff.

Recently we got a new Managing Director who feels his performance has been unsatisfactory over time due to complaints from the Project Manager and Line Manager.

The staff in question was given a warning letter about his unsatisfactory performance. Not only did he refuse to acknowledge the letter, he kept on arguing that his work is top notch and he was being witch hunted. The letter is currently with me as he did not sign it and my line manager (the Managing Director) has travelled out of the country. Please what should I do next?

**My company is a small company with a staff strenght of 22**

Thank you

From Nigeria, Lagos
Dear Chinny,

In Indian context if am I to give the reply, then I would say that there is Standing Orders Act. Action taken under the provisions of standing orders is always legally valid. Do you have some similar law in your country?

Few things you have not mentioned in your post. One is do you have policy on employee discipline? If yes, then have you defined the "misconduct"? Not accepting the official communication is "misconduct" in itself. This misconduct also merits separate action.

The second thing is about the wording or draft of the warning letter. Have you mentioned the under-performance in measurable terms? By the way, did you communicate to the employee, what performance wass expected in what span of time? How it was communicated? When it was communicated? Did the employee accept this communication? Did you issue warning letter with the reference of this communication? Was your warning letter based on any assumptions?

Please clarify further on your post. Better suggestions will come thereafter.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Thanks for the response.
We do not have a Standing Orders Act here and also what we have in the company is the 'Disciplinary Process' itself and not a policy per say. His poor performance has been communicated verbally to him on several occassions by his Line Manager and the Managing Director but after speaking with him today he said nobody has brought anything about his performance to his notice.
No warning letter has been issued till today and it was based on things that were identified and things he could do to improve. I'm thinking there may be a need to have a meeting with him, his line manager and the project manager.

From Nigeria, Lagos


A warning letter informing poor performance of an employee is a communication from management to an employee about his/her performance.

It is not related to indiscipline/misconduct. However, refusing to accept a written communication, duly signed by a comipetent authority of management

is an act of indiscipline. You have following alternatives.

1. Call the employee at your cabin. Call two more colleagues in your cabin. Offer the communication to the concerned employee and ask him to

acknowledge by signing on the copy of letter. If he refuses, make an endorsement on the copy and obtain the signature of two colleagues as

witnesses. This you can file it in his personal file.

2. Take another two copies of the communication, one copy can be sent to him at his last known address as well as his permanent address by

Registered Post Ack Due, and one copy to be sent to him, under Certificate of Posting. Endorsement by postal authorities for UPC and

receipt for sending the letter by RPAD should be filed in original in his personal file.

3. Third step. Simultaneously, Copy of the above letter can also be displayed on the Notice Board of the company.

By adopting the above method, even if he refused to accept the communication from you, it is deemed to have accepted by him.

Thus build up his case, for future action.


R K Nair

From India, Aizawl

Absolutely correct. But I am adding a slight modification to the process.
1. If the employee refuses to accept the warning letter (which isn't a punishment in any case), endorse it, get it signed by 2 other employees and display it in the Notice Board. This is accepted as serving the employee.
2. Copy sent to the local & permanent address as declared in the personal files of the company
1. The company can charge-sheet the employee as per the certified SO/DO and serve him in the above 2 ways if he still disagrees to be served.
Thanks & Regards

From India, Purulia

Please ensure that you document all non-performance or poor performance of all employees in writing by asking their reporting manager to provide an email.
When you have at least 3 emails over a period of say 2 months (whatever is convenient but fair), please give the employee a formal letter signed by HR in which you will draw attention to the previous instances of non performance. If you prefer, call the employee aside and explain to him verbally that it is a serious issue that if there is no change, then further action would be taken.
Also follow the steps given by R. Nair, and you should be ok. Please take proper legal help to draft the letter.

From India, Mumbai
He may be communicated reg. his performance over a period in clear measureable terms and ask for his reply reg. his own assessment.Then, a review discussion on his performance may be held with the line manager & project manager.If he does not improve,penalty as per your laid down policy may be imposed.
From India, Bokaro
1. Ask him to acknowledge by signing on the copy of letter with two more employees as a witness with equal or above cadre. If he refuses, make an endorsement on the copy and obtain the signature of two colleagues as witnesses. This you can file it in his personal file.
Otherwise send a letter to his posal address with the acknowledgement and maintain in his personal file.
Simultaneously, Copy of the above letter can also be displayed on the Notice Board of the company.
And as early as possible make standing orders / HR Policies for your organizations.

From India, Kukatpally
As an employee, he has to take the letter or change sheet or whatever communication issued to him. If he refuses to take means, he is committing misconduct detrimental to the discipline.
So you can prevent him from entering into duty at security and ask him to take the letter. If he takes, allow him to duty. Otherwise ask him to go out.
If he behaves out of the way to discipline, you have to do like that.

From India, Hyderabad
I have a small suggestion and not sure about the legality of the same. Whatever seniors have told are correct, but before proceeding to all of those steps, try this simple one. Send an official warning / show cause mail from your mail id, addressing the mentioned employee and keep cc to your top management (including MD) and make sure that you keep/set a delivery report as well as read receipt. Hope this may work out.

From India

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