If the employee has neglected his/her duties arising from the employment relationship, the employer may issue a warning. Repeated negligence constitutes grounds for termination of the employment relationship, but principally the employee may not be given notice before being issued a warning and given a chance to amend his/her conduct. If the employer decides to terminate the employment relationship because of repeated negligence, he must be able to prove that a warning has already been issued. Because of this, it is in the interests of both employer and employee that warnings are issued in writing. The employer may require the employee to sign the warning in acknowledgement of receipt. However, signing the warning does not mean that the employee accepts the content of the warning as accurate.
In order for a written warning to fulfil its purpose, it should include at least:
- a concrete description of the employee’s conduct that is in breach of the employment contract,
- an explanation of the duties that the employee has neglected or violated,
- an explicit demand that the employee comply with agreed rules in the future, and
- an explicit statement of the consequences of repeating the disallowed behaviour referred to.
Warnings have no specified period of validity. An estimate of when a warning may be considered to have expired should be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on the severity of the employee’s negligence or violation.
The employment relationship may be terminated without issuing a warning if the employee's breach of contract is so serious that the employer cannot be reasonably expected to continue the employment relationship. A warning may be referred to in termination of the employment relationship only when the reason for the termination is similar to the reason for the warning being issued.