Q: If an employee refuses to sign the documentation for a written warning, how should we respond?
A: When an employee refuses to sign a warning, we recommend you write "refused to sign" at the bottom of the notice. It is best if you have more than one person witness and attest to this refusal. Ideally, you and another manager would sign under this notation. The employee’s refusal to sign the warning does not negate what was written. The employee still needs to comply with the requirements set out in the written warning.
The decision about whether to take additional action for the refusal to sign is case specific. In many instances, it is best to stick with the disciplinary procedure of whatever the written warning was about and take no further disciplinary action based on the employee not signing. This is especially true if the refusal is based on a grievance of the employee with regard to the underlying issue.
In some instances, however, the employee’s refusal and surrounding actions (yelling, cursing, etc.) may constitute insubordination, which would make additional discipline appropriate. In any case, upper management should be the one to review the write-up and the circumstances and make the call on any further discipline.
Learn what you should do if an employee refuses to sign the company's employee handbook.