How to reply to a query letter for misconduct? Helpful guide

How to reply to a query letter for misconduct? Helpful guide

A query letter is typically written to employees, requiring them to explain their behaviour, course of action, or decision. It should not be confused with a disengagement letter which is written as part of punitive steps against an employee. A query letter can be written to an employee who exhibits negligence of duty, absenteeism, insubordination, or misconduct. Figuring out how to answer a query letter for misconduct can come in quite handy in case you are ever served with one. Amoo Abdulrazaq Abioye, a seasoned resume expert and freelance writer with over a decade of experience, provides valuable insights and a detailed guide on how to effectively respond to query letters.

sample response to a query letter for misconduct
A lady typing on a laptop. Photo:, @Christina Morillo
Source: UGC


While query letters can be intimidating, answering them well can easily get you out of the fix. Still, coming up with the ideal response is often easier said than done.

How to answer a query letter for misconduct

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Here is how to reply to a query letter with an apology.

Tips and guides

Crafting the perfect reply to your query will largely depend on the issue at hand. Here are some quick tips on how to reply to a query letter for misconduct.

Analyze what you will write

Before typing anything as part of your response, draft your thoughts into a piece of paper. This will help you clearly understand what you intend to write. Think about your flow of ideas, your tone, and the part of the response that you intend to emphasize.

Acknowledge your misconduct

When figuring out how to answer a query letter of indiscipline, the very first thing in your response should be an open acknowledgement of the misconduct that occurred. If you reported to work late or were absent from your workstation, begin by acknowledging that you did what you are being accused of. Still, make sure you only acknowledge the true version of events.

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Explain what transpired

how to answer a query
A lady using a laptop. Photo:, @Christina Morillo
Source: UGC

Most times, an offence has a cause behind it. Explain your version of events very clearly. This includes stating what happened, where it happened, how, and why it happened. Ensure to use diplomatic language and always remain objective. Most people fall into the emotional trap, derailing their response. If, for example, you were late for work, give good reasons why it was so.

Always use a professional tone.

Bear in mind that your response is an official document. This means that you should never use a conversational tone to reply to a query letter. Make sure to include the recipient’s contact details on the left side of your document.

The conclusion part of the query

The main objective of your response is to seek forgiveness or pardon and give an assurance that your misconduct will not happen again. Keep in mind that you are essentially writing a response letter to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. If there is no supporting evidence to show that you engaged in any misconduct, conclude by assuring the recipient that you will continue to discharge your duties diligently.

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During a discussion with Amoo Abdulrazaq Abioye, an experienced resume expert and freelance writer, he shared with that a query letter should maintain professionalism, be engaging, convey empathy, and avoid the use of complex language. Abioye said:

Throughout your response, be professional and respectful, as this will get you pardoned easily and portray that you are ready to make effective corrections. In cases where you are furious, you should take a deep breath and give some time before you respond because this can affect the tone of your response.
Respond to each concern raised in the query letter, be affirmative to get better with your responsibilities, and never try to point fingers, especially if you are a Team Lead. It will show how ill of a leader you are.
You've to show empathy in your writing and acknowledge their point of view. This is to restore the trust they have in you.

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Your response has to be brief and concise. Using ambiguous words will make things complicated for you. Also, offer a solution and acknowledge the concern as this will show that you are ready to make necessary corrections to avoid future occurrences.

Sample response to a query letter for misconduct

letter to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against you
A woman using a laptop at home. Photo:, @Thirdman
Source: UGC

Here are samples of a query letter and an ideal reply.

Mr Alex Amobi

ABC College

Department of Computer Science

+257 717 717 876

Dear Mr Amobi,

This is the second query I am sending to you regarding your absenteeism from your workstation despite previous written and oral warnings. You received a circular instructing you to always sign the movement sheet and have your ID scanned whenever you leave your station.

On 25th June 2022, you were away from your station for two hours, starting at 9:56 am. You are hereby requested to explain your absence and give reasons why disciplinary action should not be taken against you.

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Kindly reply to this query within 24 hours.

Dr Florence Ngozi

Head of Department

Department of Computer Science

ABC College

Cc: Provost, School of ICT

Here is a sample of how to reply to a query letter for misconduct.

Dr Florence Ngozi

Head of Department

Department of Computer Science

ABC College

+257 123 456 789


RE: Query on insubordination dated 25th June 2022

I write in response to your query, dated 25th June 2022.

On that material day, I reported to work at 7:30 am, a few minutes before the official opening time. A few minutes to 10:00 am, I received a call from home informing me that my neighbour had collapsed outside his house and needed immediate assistance.

In the ensuing panic, I forgot to follow the movement protocol and left my station without having my ID scanned or signing the movement sheet.

I am sincerely sorry for my actions and oversight and promise not to repeat this. I will carry out my duties with the utmost diligence and sincerity.

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Thank you.

Alex Amobi

ABC College

Department of Computer Science

Cc: Provost, School of ICT

Additionally, Abioye mentioned the availability of various tools and resources suitable for use as templates. However, he stressed the importance of thoroughly reviewing letters generated by Artifical Intelligence (AI) tools and incorporating human touches to enhance their effectiveness. He said:

If you have been found guilty of misconduct when you receive a query at work, the first thing you must understand is to take responsibility for your actions and never try to "defend yourself" because if you are not guilty, you'll not get the query in the first place.
If you opt to use any tool I don't recommend, make sure you read through and give it your human touches. So AI doesn't have empathy; they are not programmed to do so.
In all, always follow the standard procedure of your work etiquette so as to avoid getting query. Because the organization records the number of queries you have contacted, your appointment will be terminated when you reach a certain number.

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What language should be used in response to a query?

Make sure to use formal/professional language. Regardless of how close you and the recipient might be, never resort to using conversational language.

How long should it take to reply to a query letter?

how to reply to a query letter with an apology
A man typing on his PC. Photo:, @Darlene Alderson
Source: UGC

Most letters include a timeline within which a reply must be made. If not, make sure to send your response as soon as you can.

Figuring out how to answer a query letter for misconduct is important for any employed person. At times, one might receive a query letter for something they inadvertently did or which they never did at all. The tone, language, and content of your response can be the difference between keeping or losing your job.

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