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Business internal correspondence: Management staff issues

In any business, management has to watch what it puts in writing to staff.

Generally, less is better, when writing anything to staff which goes on record.

This isn't evasion, it's minimizing risk.

It is quite possible to write a perfectly innocent letter which by merely using a few extra words leaves your business open to accusations of breaches of law, and in some cases actual legal action.

Every business has basic obligations under employment law and other legislation.

Management has a prerogative to make decisions. That said, it's very important that those decisions are visibly compliant with law, and based on law.

Internal correspondence must be thoroughly checked for compliance with law.


  • Enforce a policy of being brief and to the point with internal documents
  • Make sure your internal correspondence is written and checked by professionals
  • Vet draft content for any possible mistakes
  • Err on the side of safety. If you're not sure about the accuracy of a statement in your letter or memo, don't make it
  • .

The example below is based on a case history of clashes between two senior staff members, which has caused some scenes in the workplace. Neither has committed any action which would be liable for termination. They're good workers, but they're getting on the nerves of supervisors. Nobody wants to sack them, and if they sacked one, by rights they should sack both.

Management has decided to tell both staff members to put an end to the clashes. Because there's no intention to take direct action at this point, this is a warning letter, sent to both staff members.

In terms of employment law, it's evidence of prior notice of possible disciplinary action, which if taken could be a preliminary to possible termination.

Please note: There are many references to employment law and standard employment practice in this example. This is a simple case. Always be very clear about your legal position when dealing with staff issues.


Internal correspondence letterhead

File ref HR/009/02

Dear (staff member)

Re: Personal conduct in the workplace

It has been brought to my attention that there have been recent altercations between yourself and (other staff member).

I am assured that there have been no grounds for complaint concerning the performance of your duties as a result of these altercations.

However, please be advised that staff are expected to conduct themselves professionally at all times, and to work together without disturbance to the workplace.

If there are any grounds for a grievance dispute regarding your relationship with (other staff member), you may contact the Human Resources section to conduct a resolution of that dispute.

Please note: While no disciplinary action is currently being considered, it is required that these altercations cease immediately. If not, disciplinary action will be undertaken on the next report of any further occurrences.

If you have any queries regarding the content of this letter, please contact me on the above phone number to arrange an appointment to discuss the matter.



Please note:

  • This text is intended for advisory and guideline purposes only.
  • Any business letter can become a legal document, so check your content properly before issuing.
  • Any executable or statutorily defined document should be checked for compliance with legal requirements, and you should seek legal advice regarding its contents.