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Ask Leslie: What If My Employee Won't Sign The Disciplinary Write-Up?

By Leslie Zieren, The McCalmon Group, Inc.

Dear Leslie:

I have verbally counseled my employee twice for repeatedly failing to submit expense reports on time. After another failure, I prepared a written disciplinary action form to suspend her for a day without pay. I sat down with her to review the action form and asked her to sign it. She refused. What can I do?

Signed: Joe


Dear Joe:

Employees often refuse to sign a disciplinary write-up, thinking it is some sort of admission of wrongdoing or thinking that by signing, they agree with the disciplinary measures you have decided to impose. Her failure to sign does not in any way invalidate your disciplinary decision.

Just note on the write-up that she was asked but refused to sign; sign your name; note the date and time of your discussion with her; and be sure to note the date of her suspension.

Jack McCalmon and Leslie Zieren are attorneys with more than 50 years combined experience assisting employers in lowering their risk, including answering questions, like the one above, through the McCalmon Group's Best Practices Help Line. The Best Practice Help Line is a service of The McCalmon Group, Inc. Your organization may have access to The Best Practice Help Line or a similar service from another provider at no cost to you or at a discount. For questions about The Best Practice Help Line or what similar services are available to you via this Platform, call 888.712.7667.

If you have a question that you would like Jack McCalmon or Leslie Zieren to consider for this column, please submit it to Please note that The McCalmon Group cannot guarantee that your question will be answered. Answers are based on generally accepted risk management best practices. They are not, and should not be considered, legal advice. If you need an answer immediately or desire legal advice, please call your local legal counsel.

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