Yes, it’s true. Even in the corporate world, there is a legal version of telling your side of the story.
An Appeal Letter is a formal tool to make a complaint against your employer or to challenge a wrongful decision made against you. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as explaining your version to your mum, friend or sibling. To successfully carry out an appeal you need to make sure that all steps are followed through to convince the ‘jury’ of your innocence or unfair sentencing.
When Do You Write An Appeal Letter?
You are entitled to compose an appeal letter when you believe that a decision has been wrongly made against you or if you feel you have been treated unfairly. If you believe you deserve a second chance at your job, education or benefits you should consider appealing the decision.
The three most common decisions appealed by individuals are:
- Redundancy or dismissal from the workplace
- Final warnings of misconduct
- Flexible working requests
How To Get The Jury On Your Side?
The goal of this letter is to convince the reader of your case. So think about it this way, would you reconsider a candidate who is providing a disorganised, hard-to-read piece of evidence? An eloquent and straightforward letter will make the reader take your concerns more seriously.
Step 1: The structure
In order to write a professional letter, you should structure your answer so that the jury has an idea of who you are, the case against you and your rebuttal.
- A brief section explains you and your case
Your opening statement should clearly explain who you are and the scope of the letter.
For example: I am writing to inform you that I wish to raise a grievance with regards to my dismissal on the 19th of December 2016. This action is being as a result of the terms under which my contract was signed under on the 15 March 2009.
- The details of the decision that is being appealed
This section should include all the details of how the initial decision was taken and explained to you. If you’re an employer reading this, make sure you use the right disciplinary procedures to minimise risk.
- The grounds for appeal of this letter
For this third part make sure it is as clear and concise as possible. Think of it the way you would structure an essay: every argument (or counterargument) should support your appeal and be backed by some form of evidence. As long as your claims have verifiable and substantial backings they will be considered.
- Your desired outcome and any other information to support you.
This last section is what most Appeal Letter templates forget to include. Oftentimes the reader is at loss as to what the appealer is trying to obtain and by consequence may not know how to proceed. Make sure he (or she) knows what you want so that, if your appeal is considered, you are sure to obtain your desired outcome.
Step 2: The Format
Make sure your letter is formatted in business style: with you and your employer’s respective addresses and names. At the end of your argument, you should also include a concluding sentence to thank the reader and the jury for listening to you and follow it with a proper salutation and signature.
Your letter should include (in order)
- Your full mailing address
- Date the letter is sent
- The recipient’s address
- Subject line
- Body of the letter
- A complimentary closing
- A signature line
Step 3: Keep it brief
It is unlikely that your reader will have plenty of time to focus on your case as the team probably receives hundreds. Make sure that you can provide a concise and factual piece of work which clearly explains the complaint in a brief space.
The No’s And Gosh Oh No’s Of Writing An Appeal Letter
1. Denying your behaviour or actions
It may be that your improper conduct or behaviour could have resulted in sanctions which you consider too harsh. In these situations denying or lying about your behaviour can act in a reverse way as it may lead the court to gather supporting evidence to further discredit you.
2. Justifying your misconduct
Make sure you acknowledge your wrongdoing if there was any and politely ask for a reconsideration of your terms. Do not try using family or circumstantial excuses for your actions. This can appear childish and will not help your case.
3. Making a personal plea
This especially applies to work and university applications. Many times students who appeal a rejection may attempt to blame their performance on external factors. Despite this, the committee does not expect students to be perfect and it has already acknowledged your circumstances. So, unless you provide new evidence you will not be provided with a second chance.
No: I admit I had a very difficult time the past few months, and my work ethic suffered as a result. These last weeks do not reflect my hard work prior to these hardships and my manager was not clear on what tasks were my responsibility…
Yes: Unfortunately, I have come to learn of a procedural error in reporting my latest contributions to the company…. I did not see any evidence of the latest contractual procedures I have put in place for the company. Furthermore, the latest marketing strategy which reached over 15,000 small business owners was not reported.
Remember, before submitting make sure you research employment law thoroughly to make sure you have listed all factors that could contribute to your claim.