Answer: This is not uncommon and most often happens during a disciplinary meeting when an employee refuses to sign a warning notice. In any case, the employer representative should simply write on the document “employee refused to sign” along with the representative’s signature and a date and ask a witness to sign the form acknowledging the event. Tell the employee that he or she is charged with knowing and following all policies and practices in the handbook regardless of the refusal to sign the form and document this statement to the employee with the witness present.
Disciplining an employee for refusing to sign the form is an option, but is often counterproductive. Obviously, the employee’s refusal indicates a high emotional or stressful state and any threat can escalate the situation. Labeling this action as insubordination forces the employer to possibly discharge the employee. Given the high price of turnover, termination is not a cost effective solution.
The primary reason for requesting a signature is merely to provide evidence in an unemployment hearing or legal dispute that the employee was aware of the company rules and expectations. Showing a document which acknowledges a refusal to sign casts a bad light on the employee at the least favorable time for the employee.
“Tell the employee that he or she is charged with knowing and following all policies and practices in the handbook regardless of the refusal to sign the form and document.”
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