Notices to Explain are like bowling pins.

Notices to Explain are like bowling pins.

When you’re making a notice to explain (or NTE), what’s the one thing you should keep in mind?

For those of you who aren’t familiar, an NTE is a document you give to an employee stating that he is being charged with violations. It’s the equivalent of a charge sheet.

When I coach students or clients on drafting their own Notices, I tell them to think of the NTE as a set of bowling pins. Each charge or accusation in the NTE represents a single pin. When you include them in the NTE, it’s just like setting them up in the bowling alley. When an employee submits his or her explanation as well as any evidence to defend themselves, that’s the equivalent of rolling the ball and trying to knock down the pins.

Now, depending on how valid the accusation was or how strongly the employee defended themselves, what will happen is that only the valid charges will be left standing. And just like in a real bowling game, only the pins left standing get to participate in the next round. In the case of violations and offenses, only the charges which weren’t explained, disproved or discredited (the equivalent of pins being toppled down) get to be included when you consider the penalty.

What’s the moral of the story here?

If you want a violation or an offense to be included when you consider the penalty at the end, you have to include it in the NTE. You have to let the offense stand at the alley and let the employee take his best swing to try and take it down, disprove it, or discredit it. If the pin stands the assault, then go ahead and decide on the penalty based on it.

Here’s a question: What if there was an offense I forgot to include in the NTE? Can we include that in the deliberation afterwards?

Nope. The worst mistake you can make is add a pin after the bowler has rolled the ball. The proper procedure for that would be to set up another set. And once more, give the employee a chance to knock them down. Only then can you use the subsequent set.

Hope this was able to simplify things for you the next time you write an NTE.

1 Comment
  • Mikimoto
    Posted at 01:14h, 13 October Reply

    Hi, question on NTE, hope you can help. What can invalidate a notice to explain?

    If the infraction was made in September 1st and the company learned abt it on Sept 4th, until what date can the company produce an NTE? Does our law cover such timeframe or does it only govern the period from the time the nte was received by the employee (max 5 days)?

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