How to Include a Rebuttal Letter to Resolve a Dispute

by Contributor ; Updated September 26, 2017

Virtually everyone at some time or another will be the subject of written record that puts them in a bad light. It may be as simple as a record of an informal discussion of your tardiness. It could be a formal counseling in a disciplinary procedure that might cost you a pay raise or even your job. In a worst case scenario, it could be a letter that terminates your job. In each event, you should write and submit a letter of rebuttal. This letter is intended to help you resolve a dispute by providing your side of the story.

Deconstruct the letter against you by breaking it apart paragraph by paragraph. If the paragraphs are long or contain a lot of detail, then break it down to the sentence level. This deconstruction allows you to view the letter in rational manner.

For each item of negative information, construct a rebuttal that explains it. When explaining these things take care to word the rebuttal so that you are cast in a positive light. For example: "Mr. Smith has been late four times during the reporting cycle" could be rebutted with a paragraph that explains each event. You could say, "During the 100 working days of the reporting period, I was on time 96 percent of the time. Each incident was because of circumstances beyond my control. Each incident was reported to my supervisor as soon as possible." Your rebuttal explains the deficiency and by noting the overwhelmingly high attendance rate, trivializes the complaint. Of course, had the letter been written with more detail, your rebuttal would be more detailed, as well.

Once you have all of your facts, references and initial draft written, you will assemble your letter. The opening is to be respectful of the authority figure who will see it. It will provide a brief synopsis of why the letter is being written. Then you will add in your information that refutes the original letter. Finally, you will close respectfully.

An example may be something like this: "Sir, I am writing to provide additional information regarding the letter placed in my file on January 1, 2011 by Mr. Supervisor regarding my being late. Mr. Supervisor stated that I'd been late four times. That's true. But his letter never mentioned that each time was explained by me to him at the time. And, he accepted each explanation as being a valid reason. Since the reporting period is 100 work days, I have a 96 percent on time attendance rate. Respectfully, Mr. Employee."

As you can see from the example, there is no need to be overly long, rude or even obsequious. Instead, you keep it short, focused solely on the adverse information in the original letter and personality free. An unbiased third party can now read both letters and draw their own conclusions.


  • Submit your rebuttal within 24 hours of the original letter being delivered to you. When composing your letter, cite relevant regulations that support your position.

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