Writing a Disagreement Letter [with Sample]

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At one time or another it will be necessary to write a letter disagreeing with a decision that was made regarding any number of things. It could be a determination that was made at work, in court, by the government, or elsewhere. 

Also commonly called an appeal, a letter of disagreement conveys the belief that the decision is considered to be wrong.

Write The Letter In A Professional And Polite Manner

Decisions are made every day, and they do not always have to be final. Often this happens in the workplace. Employees do not always agree with employers.

One example is problems that can arise when work performances receive a less than desirable rating.

Disciplinary actions can result from the rating, and this can cause bad feelings. It is natural to get angry at times like this, but there are other ways to handle the problem that may have better results.

Disagreeing With A Decision

When a letter disagreeing with a decision is written in a polite and professional way it will be taken more sincerely.

Writing a rude and accusing letter probably will not be taken seriously or it will anger the receiver making them less likely to consider the argument.

Not only should the letter point out the belief that the determination is considered to be wrong, but facts need to be included to show why.

When an approach is used that shows the receiver the letter is meant to help and not just point out an error they are more apt to consider the facts.

The letter should never contain anything that would make them think they are being personally attacked.

Ensure There Are No Misunderstandings

Correct grammar is extremely important. Check the letter to make certain there are no misspelled words or incorrect punctuation.

Using the most clear and concise way to get the point across will ensure there are no misunderstandings.

Do not ramble and do not add information that is not relevant to the decision being challenged. A typed letter is much more professional than one that is handwritten.

The Letter Format

The first paragraph should contain the reason for the letter. This paragraph is basically a summary of the contents of the letter.

The next paragraph should contain what is being challenged and why. If it is behavior, performance, missed work, or another issue make sure to only address these issues.

The second paragraph and the ones that follow will offer the facts to back up why the determination is being challenged. State why it should be reconsidered and/or changed. 

Do Not Exaggerate

Decisions pertaining to the writer of the letter are the only ones that should be addressed. Do not mention any actions or performances of co-workers or others.

Do not exaggerate accomplishments. State only the facts that can be proven.

The closing paragraph is used to politely ask the recipient to consider the facts that have been presented.

Thank them for reconsidering their opinion. They may not reconsider the decision but assume that they will.

Before sending the letter make a copy for safekeeping. Below is a sample of a letter disagreeing with an employee’s bad performance rating. The letter can be adapted to cover most situations when there is a disagreement.

Sample Disagreement Letter

Date of the Letter: April 2, 2022

Name of the Recipient: John Smith
Address of the Recipient: 123 First Street
City, State Zip Code

Subject of the Letter: Decision Regarding Work Performance
(This section is optional)

Dear John Smith,

Summary of the contents:
I have always highly regarded you as a manager and value your opinion.

However, I am writing to provide you with information regarding why I believe the evaluation I received for my work performance is incorrect.

My evaluation on (date of evaluation: March 15, 2020) contained performance ratings that were less than satisfactory.

I believe that my performance as an employee of (Name of Company) for the last five years has always been exemplary.

I have implemented several safety plans that have resulted in less work time losses. For example,

Example #1

Example #2

Example #3

I have a perfect attendance record and am always willing to go the ‘extra mile’ to uphold the reputation of this company.

Our working relationship is extremely important to me, and I am confident that you will consider my position in this matter. Thank you for your reconsideration.


Your Signature
Your Typed Name: Ann Jones
Safety Director (Title is optional)

Enclosures if any
cc: Recipients of any copies, if sent