How To Write an Appeal Letter (With Examples)

Writing an Appeal Letter

Maddy Price / The Balance

What is an appeal letter and how do you write one? An appeal letter is something you write if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly in some way in your workplace, and you want someone to reconsider a decision they have made about you. There are various times you might need to write an appeal letter.

Perhaps you believe you’ve been unfairly warned, demoted, laid off, or fired. Maybe you’ve been denied a raise when you believe you deserve one. Regardless of the circumstances, you may be able to appeal the decision. If this is the case, a well-crafted appeal letter may help in redressing the situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Check with your manager or human resources department to learn how to appeal a decision that you believe is unfair.
  • When you write an appeal letter, include facts and documentation that help support your case.
  • Your letter should be clear about what you want to have happen and what outcome you are seeking.
  • If you don't get a response right away, follow up with a second message or a phone call to check on the status of your appeal.

What to Include in an Appeal Letter

In an appeal letter, you state the situation or event, explain why you think it was wrong or unjust, and state what you hope the new outcome will be.


Your appeal letter is your chance to share your side of the situation.

The goal of an appeal letter is to have a decision reconsidered, and hopefully overturned. If your letter is courteous and clear, this is possible.

Tips for Writing an Appeal Letter

Here are some tips on how to write an effective appeal letter:

Check Company Policy. Before you write your letter, check company policy for information on how grievances and employee issues are handled.

Know Where to Send Your Letter. Think carefully about whom to send your letter to. If you are trying to appeal a wrongful termination, for example, send the letter directly to your employer. You don’t want your letter to have to pass through a number of hands—this will only delay a resolution to your issue.

Use Business Letter Format. It is an official letter, so be sure to use proper business letter format. If you send your appeal via email, the format is slightly different.

Use a Polite Tone. Try to avoid any anger or judgment in your writing. While you might be very upset about the issue, you don’t want to convey this feeling in your letter. Be confident and persuasive, but not aggressive. Consider asking a friend to read through the letter to make sure the tone is appropriate.

Admit Any Mistakes. If you did something wrong, acknowledge it. State specifically what you did wrong, and what you have learned from that experience.

State What You Would Like to Happen. In your letter, explicitly state what you hope will happen. Do you want the reader to reverse a decision they made? Do you want your employer to review a particular issue before making a decision? Be clear about what you want.

Stick to the Facts. Include any facts that help support your case. If there are policies that have been overlooked, state those policies. If you have documents that will help your case, include them. Avoid emotional pleas, and stick to actualities.

Keep It Brief. Keep your letter short. Focus on the facts, stating what the situation is, why you think it is wrong, and what next steps you request.

Carefully Edit Your Letter. Because this is a professional letter, thoroughly proofread your letter before submitting it.

Follow Up. ​If you do not hear anything back in a week or so, follow up with the letter recipient with an email, second letter, or phone call. If time is of the essence, follow up sooner.

Appeal Letter Format

Your Contact Information
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address


Employer Contact Information
City, State Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name,

First Paragraph
Introduce yourself, and explain that you are writing an appeal letter. State the particular decision or situation you are appealing.

Paragraph 2
State your side of the story. Were facts overlooked? If so, provide those facts. State whether or not you have attached any relevant documents.

Paragraph 3
State the outcome that you want (Do you want your employer to overturn a decision? Do you want something to be added to a decision?). Also state when you need an answer by, if there is a deadline.

Final Paragraph
Conclude with a courteous “thank you” for the person’s time. Include necessary contact information so they can follow up with you. If you are going to follow up, state how you will do so, and when.

Complimentary Close
Respectfully yours,


Handwritten Signature (for a hard copy letter)

Typed Signature

Template for an Appeal Letter

Download the appeal letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of an example appeal letter

Sample Appeal Letter (Denied a Raise)

Below is a sample appeal letter that follows the format above. It is for an employee who has been denied a raise. Use this sample to help you write your appeal letter. Be sure to revise the sample to fit your particular situation.

Sample Appeal Letter (Text Version)

Franklin Rodriguez
123 Main Street
Anytown, CA 12345

March 7, 2022

Leslie Lee
Acme Retail
123 Business Rd.
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Ms. Lee,

I hope you are doing well. I am writing to appeal your decision not to grant my annual pay raise, which we discussed last Tuesday at our annual review meeting.

As you stated in our meeting, you believed I had been late to work too many times this year to warrant a pay raise. According to my records (which I received from Human Resources), I have not been late more than two times this year. I have attached the Human Resources document marking my status.

In light of these facts, I request that you reconsider your decision about my pay raise.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read this and the attached document. I am happy to meet with you any time to discuss this further.


Signature (hard copy letter)

Franklin Rodriguez

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you appeal an unemployment claim denial?

If your claim for unemployment benefits was denied, you have the right to appeal. How to appeal depends on your state, so check with your state department of labor for guidelines on what to do when your unemployment claim is denied.

How do I appeal a wrongful demotion?

If you believe that you were wrongfully demoted, the first step is to contact the human resources department at your organization. There may be a process in place to file an appeal. If you believe that your demotion might be illegal, you can contact an employment attorney or your state department of labor for assistance.

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  1. U.S. Department of Labor. "Benefit Denials."

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