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Does a write up have to be signed by the employee to be legal

San Francisco, CA |


Attorney Answers 2


No. The employee signs it to prove conclusively that they were given the write up. If they refuse to sign it, that is their prerogative. Of course, it is hard for them to improve performance if they do not have a copy of the write up. You can e-mail it to them with a read receipt as another way of proving delivery. Another person would be an alternate way of proof. Some employees are reluctant to sign because they think it is an admission of fault. The way to deal with that is to have them sign a statement that says "I do not necessarily agree with the contents of this writeup. My signature on it is not an admission of fault or liability, but only an acknowledgment that the employer gave me this write up on this date."

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

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Your premise that the write has legal meaning is wrong. If you're an "at will" employee," meaning no written contract that says you can only be fired for "cause" or "good cause," and if you're not qa union member, your employer doesn't need a reason to fire you, or to give you any notice, or to do a write up before firing you.

If they have policies for progressive discipline leading to firing, they have to follow their own policies, but they don't need to have firing policies in the 1st place.

My colleague is correct that signing doen't prove the truth of the content of the write up, and as a practical matter, you could be considered even more of a troublemaker for refusing to sign.

Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.


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