Q. We recently disciplined an employee for repeated insubordination because of her attitude toward her supervisor. We wrote her up and placed a warning report in her file. Now she is protesting the accuracy of the report and demanding the chance to “correct” it. Can we force her to sign our disciplinary report as-is?
A. No. An employer cannot require an employee to sign off on the accuracy of a memo, warning or report drafted by the employer and describing the factual events leading to or justifying employee discipline. You can, however, require your employee to sign an acknowledgment that she in fact received the written notice. In fact, it’s a good practice to always have employees being disciplined sign such an acknowledgment.
If you plan to place the notice in the employee’s file, strive to be as accurate as possible when identifying the reasons that led to the corrective action.
Your employee has no legal right to require you to “correct,” change or alter in any way your disciplinary memorandum.
She does, however, have a right under Minnesota law to tell her side of the story and have it placed in her employment file. By law, employees who dispute information contained in an employment file are allowed to submit a written statement specifically identifying the disputed information and explaining the employee’s position.
You must keep a copy of that position statement (which you can limit to no more than five pages) in the employee’s employment file for as long as the disputed records are maintained. The employee’s version must also be provided to anyone who receives a copy of the employer’s file containing the disputed information.
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