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Most everyone has had a job where they did not get along with their boss. The supervisor does not have to be liked to be effective. It is not their job to be your friend. However, when a real conflict arises, most companies have open door policies that encourage you to discuss the matter with your boss in a professional manner. If you feel it is appropriate, you may choose to write a letter to your boss instead of directly confronting them face-to-face.
Writing a Letter of Complaint
Type your work address, without your name, at the top of the letter. Do not use letterhead unless you are instructed to do so. Using letterhead highlights the formality of the communication and this may make your boss defensive. Skip one line space.
Type the date and skip one line space. Type your boss's name and title and the organization's name and address. Skip another line space.
Type "Dear Mr./Ms. (Name)" followed by a colon. Skip one line space.
Open the letter by immediately identifying the subject of the letter. Tell your boss that you are writing to discuss an issue that you have. Give a brief outline of the disagreement. Keep the tone professional and do not attack your boss personally in the letter. This will make you look unprofessional and anger your boss.
Give supporting details in subsequent paragraphs. Do not discuss every incident, but give enough information to make the problem clear.
Offer a suggestion for fixing the issue in the concluding paragraph. Offer to meet to discuss the matter personally. Thank your boss for their time and give your contact information. Skip one line space.
Type "Sincerely," and skip three line spaces. Type your full name and your title. Sign your name in the space above your typed name after you have printed the letter.
Print two copies of the letter. Keep one copy of the letter for your records and mail the other copy to your boss.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.