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A Letter of Reprimand is more severe than a Letter of Admonition or Letter of Counseling. Like the Letter of Admonition, it's used to document clear violations of standards and is used for more serious offenses. It may also be issued when other, less severe methods, such as a Letter of Counseling or Letter of Admonition have failed to correct behavior.
Note that you don't have to give a person an LOC before you present a Letter of Reprimand. These tools are not required to be used in any kind of order. They are used as appropriate. The Letter of Counseling is just that -counseling -to clear up any misunderstanding. If the person receiving the LOR is in obvious violation of some standard, then an LOC is not necessary or appropriate. Go straight for the LOR.
Some infractions that come to mind as not requiring an LOC, because everyone understands they violate standards, are:
- showing up to work with alcohol on your breath
- showing up late for work
- falsifying or "pencil whipping" Preventive Maintenance Inspections
- not following instructions or orders
Although an LOC is not required to be presented before issuing an LOR, that does not mean that counseling is not necessary --it is. But documenting that counseling should be done in the body of an LOR.
The language and tone of the LOR should be more directive than that found in the LOC. In the LOC, we don't make assumptions about the counselee's motives but rather explain expectations and define acceptable behavior. In the LOR, we do make assumptions and describe the repercussions the receiver can expect if the objectionable behavior is repeated. Note that the content of the LOR is similar to the LOCs that many people are accustomed to seeing because many supervisors use the LOC more as a punitive tool than as a counseling tool.
A Letter of Reprimand (LOR) is recorded on squadron letterhead or plain bond paper if letterhead is not available. The format required for the Letter of Reprimand is the same as for Letters of Counseling and Letters of Admonishment, the Official Memorandum format. The only difference is the subject line. See the example below. For more information on the Official Memorandum format, go to the Official Memorandum page.
When writing a Letter of Reprimand, the following information should be included:
What the member did or failed to do and the associated dates
What improvement is expected
That continued violations of standards will result in more severe action
That the individual has 3 duty days to submit rebuttal documents to the initiator. When calculating the response due date, the date of receipt is not counted, and if the individual mails their acknowledgment, the date of the postmark on the envelope will serve as the date of acknowledgment
That the person who initiated the LOR has 3 duty days to advise the individual of their final decision regarding any comments submitted by the individual
That all supporting documents received from the individual will become part of the record
The document must include a Privacy Act statement. Written administrative reprimands are subject to the rules of access and protection as outlined in The Privacy Act of 1974. The same rules apply to any copies kept by supervisors or in the individual's UIF or Personnel Information File (PIF).
LOR in Word format - Official example from Cannon AFB in Microsoft Word format (.docx) contributed by SSgt Eigenmann
MEMORANDUM FOR (NAME OF INDIVIDUAL)
FROM: Unit/OFFICE SYMBOL
SUBJECT: Letter of Reprimand
1. On 7 Sep 10, you reported to work almost an hour late and I smelled alcohol on your breath.
2. As an Air Force professional, you know the importance of discipline and must understand that it is your responsibility to report to work well rested and prepared to work. Showing up to work in your condition reflects negatively on yourself and your supervisor and your workcenter. If this behavior occurs again, I will be forced to consider you unfit to serve and it will be my responsibility to the work center and the Squadron, to refer you to the Commander for consideration for discharge.
3. PRIVACY ACT STATEMENT. AUTHORITY: 10 U.S.C. 8013. PURPOSE: To obtain any comments or documents you desire to submit for consideration concerning this action. ROUTINE USE: Provides you an opportunity to submit comments or documents for consideration. If provided, the comments or documents you submit become a part of the action. DISCLOSURE: Your written acknowledgment or receipt and signature are mandatory. Any other comments or documents you provide are voluntary.
4. You will indicate receipt and understanding of this letter in the space below. You have 3 duty days in which to provide a response if you choose. A response is not required.
SUPERVISORS NAME, RANK, USAF
1st Ind, Name of Individual
TO: Unit/Office Symbol
Receipt acknowledged at _________________hours, on ___________________ 2011.
I understand that I may submit a response within three duty days.
Name of Individual, RANK, USAF