Workplaces are not without their share of conflict. Sometimes, the application or interpretation of a company’s policies can result in negative outcomes. If you find yourself in this type of situation, it’s easy to feel angry, frustrated, afraid, or even powerless. However, you must keep a clear head and articulate your case in a calm, professional manner.Letting your emotions color the tone of your appeal letter can jeopardize your ability to present the facts and request your employer to reconsider its actions. Resentment over unfair treatment might lead to an accusatory tone in your writing, or fear for your future job security can result in a missive that fails to argue your points effectively.Thankfully, you can avoid either extreme by using our appeal letter templates. We offer several useful best practices, plus important formatting tips to guide you as you compose your content.
Appeal Letter Template
Below is an appeal letter from Keiko Nakamura. Keiko is writing her employer’s human resources department to contest a disciplinary write-up from her supervisor for a dress code violation. However, the supervisor based her written warning on an incorrect interpretation of company policy. Keiko is understandably upset, but she calmly and clearly presents the facts in her message.
I received a written warning from my supervisor, Mary Houston, dated September 12, 2017. She issued the warning due to a violation of Blue Sky Consulting’s employee dress code, stating that my hair length did not conform to company policy for male employees. She referenced an August 31 conversation in which she informed me that hair past my collar would violate the policy. Due to an incorrect application of these standards to my case, I respectfully request an appeal, with the hopeful revocation of the warning.
On March 13, 2017, I submitted to you a letter explaining my diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria (GD) from my physician, Dr. Beverly Bashir. I also tendered a copy to Mary on that same date. Additionally, I refer to our company’s non-discrimination policy, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on “race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.” During the August 31 conversation, I also reminded Mary of my Gender Dysphoria diagnosis.
It is my understanding that the dress code for female employees, which do not specify any hair length restrictions, apply to me instead of those for male personnel. I have attached copies of Dr. Bashir’s letter and the March 13th memo that I submitted with it. Given the information I have documented above, I ask for a review of my case and a rescinding of Mary’s written warning.
How To Write an Appeal Letter
When writing your appeal letter, your end goal is to convince a decision maker to reconsider your case and hopefully act in your favor. While there are no certainties or guarantees, you’ll probably increase your chances of obtaining your desired outcomes if your missive incorporates solidly presented facts and clearly phrased arguments with a respectful tone.
As our appeal letter template demonstrates, your document should open with a brief description of the circumstances surrounding the unfavorable decision you’re contesting. Your audience will likely be a member of higher management or a human resources director, so keep that in mind as you write. In your opening paragraph, explicitly state the reason you’re asking for an appeal. It’s vital to craft content that’s concise and focused, so try to limit your letter to no more than three paragraphs
Next, you need to be sure to carefully present your evidence. Document dates and times for incidents or communications germane to the event, such as letters sent by either you, your co-workers, your supervisors, or other management staff. It’s also important to mention company policies that apply to your case. Cite policy directly from the employee handbook whenever necessary. In addition, referring to pertinent emails, memos, and other communication from supervisors and management can also be helpful.
Finally, it’s critical to end your letter on a confident yet deferential note. Refer to attached copies of any evidence that supports your dispute, such as previous communications or policy addendums distributed by upper administration. If you’ve made any mistakes, be sure to honestly own up to them and apologize. In the closing of your missive, don’t forget to restate your request for appeal.
What To Avoid in Your Appeal Letter
As you’re working on your appeal letter, it’s vital to circumvent some common pitfalls. First of all, you need to be completely upfront regarding the details of your case. While being persuasive, avoid trying to overly slant your account of events in your favor. Stick to the facts documenting both your actions and those of other parties involved, and don’t sidestep mentioning any errors you made. You should also maintain a neutral, objective voice throughout the text of your document. These tips will aid you in demonstrating your integrity as you present your request for an appeal.
At the same time, you must also take a meticulous approach to your letter. Don’t just gloss over the critical facts in your situation. Make sure the explanations and information you incorporate are comprehensible but not long-winded. Finally, don’t make the faux pas of not proofreading your message before sending it. It’s wise to ensure your document is free of spelling and grammar mistakes, uses professional language, and steers clear of colloquialisms or slang.
How To Follow Up After Sending Your Appeal Letter
Remember that you do need to allow the recipient of your appeal letter enough time to receive, document, and process it. Unless prohibited by company policy, you can also give your direct supervisor a copy of your missive. A few days after submitting your communication, it’s wise to reach out to the appropriate parties and confirm that they got your message. Observe internal guidelines for the appeals process as detailed by your human resources department or upper management, including mandated procedures and the time frame in which to expect a ruling. Remember to reach out to decision makers at or around the deadline date for a decision if you haven’t heard anything. Lastly, make sure you comply with additional requests for information as soon as you receive them.
Top 5 Appeal Letter Writing Takeaways
1. Start your letter by succinctly describing the nature of your grievance
Your audience needs to immediately understand the purpose of your communication. Introduce it with a brief summary of the event in question, then state that you’re requesting an appeal.
2. Document relevant facts in a detailed yet concise explanation
The second paragraph of your document will be its meatiest portion. You’ll need to document your case by presenting pertinent information and evidence to support your position.
3. Quote company policies related to your grievance
You don’t need to reprint the employee handbook word for word, but include a short excerpt of the section applicable to your appeal. If there’s an error in a decision made by management or human resources, you need to tie it to existing company rules.
4. Enclose documentation with your letter
Be sure to attach copies of communications sent by either you or management and reprints of messages that clarify or update existing rules. If you have medical or other outside information pertinent to your situation, include that as well.
5. Maintain a professional tone throughout your text
Avoid emotional or caustic language, accusations, incorrect grammar, and slang. Review your letter and check it for mistakes before transmission.