What If An Employee Refuses to Sign a Written Memo or Agreement?

paperclip-178126_1920What can you do when an employee refuses to sign a memo, agreement, or notice you prepare as notice of disciplinary action?  Don’t get angry. Don’t get sidetracked into an argument with the employee.  You have three options:

  • Above the signature space, write: “I acknowledge receipt.”  Tell the employee the signature simply acknowledges receipt of the memo or notice.
  • The employee usually is refusing to sign because he or she asserts “I don’t agree with this, and I’m not signing anything like this.” So tell the employee he or she doesn’t need to sign and can write down on the sheet his or her own statement.  The employee almost always will write out his or her position.  What this gives you is nearly as good as the employee’s signature, and sometimes better than the signature.  Because the memo or notice now has several words or sentences on it that are written in the employee’s handwriting, which is evidence the employee received and read the document.  If the document is a written agreement, obviously the employee must sign it.  If the employee refuses, there is no agreement and this gives you immediate justification to suspend or terminate the employee.
  • Have a witness present during the meeting with the employee.  Have the witness sign the document, as a witness to what was discussed and agreed to by the supervisor and the employee.


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