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  • Writer's pictureBoss Consulting HR

Does an Employee Have to Sign a Write-Up? 3 Steps to Take if They Refuse.

All employee performance evaluations or write-ups should have a place for an employee to sign. This signature indicates they’ve received the performance evaluation and understand its contents. But there may be times when an employee refuses to sign.

What can you do when an employee doesn’t want to sign their write-up?

Well, you definitely don’t force them to provide their signature. That’s a big no. But that also doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do.

Here are some great ways we recommend you work with your employee to get them to sign their write-up.

3 steps to take to get that employee write-up signature:

1. Make sure that the employee fully understands what is in the write-up and what their signature means.

Some questions to ask yourself –

  • Have you taken the time to be thorough and specific when going through the performance document?

  • Did you give the employee a chance to ask questions and give their input?

If your answer isn’t a resounding yes to both questions, this may be a reason for their refusal to provide a signature. Go over the document with them again in greater detail if needed.

2. If the employee still refuses to sign, ask why. Don’t assume.

Some questions to ask your employee –

  • Do they disagree with the way their performance was characterized?

  • Do they feel they’ve been treated unfairly?

  • Do they disagree with the method of resolution you’ve suggested?

There may be valid employee concerns for you to take into account. A worthwhile compromise that can be reached to satisfy both parties truly might exist. Make sure to listen carefully to let your employee know they’re heard. This will be a great help in coming to a resolution.

3. Make a note on the document that states the employee was given the opportunity to sign and refused. Then sign that note yourself.

If after having openly communicated through the first two action steps, the employee continues to refuse to provide their signature, this is the best next step. Ideally, you should also have a witness present who can sign off on the write-up as well.

And don’t forget – regardless of whether the employee signs the document – they should always be given the opportunity to write their own comments in a specified section. Make sure to allow them to make written comments even if there is no signature.

It can be difficult and uncomfortable to navigate situations like these where an employee refuses to cooperate with your disciplinary or evaluation policies and procedures. But these are important steps to take. They ensure you remain in compliance with the law and best practices.

To help avoid scenarios like this altogether – and protect yourself and your business – make sure your policies on write-ups and performance evaluations are detailed in your handbook. And that they are reviewed as part of your new hire onboarding process.

Employees are more likely to comply when they know you’re following a standard procedure, and they’re not surprised by the chain of events.

If you need assistance updating your handbook or creating an employee onboarding process that fully communicates your company culture and expectations, set up a free consultation with us to learn more about how we can help!

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