Terminating an employee will always be deemed as a difficult decision. However, there are just times that call for the need to do so. Reasons may vary but whatever reason you might have for ending the employee’s employment, make sure that end ties in a proper manner. Remember that communication is key in the workplace setting, whether it be for good news or bad news. To conduct proper communications regarding employee terminations, you can start by drafting a basic termination letter that you would hand out to your employee.
If you want to make sure that you end up having a well-written termination letter, you can make use of termination letter templates to make the task easier. We have included a couple of termination letter samples and templates that you can use to make the letter-writing task a little bit easier for you. Aside from the templates we have here for you, we also wanted to share a couple of useful tips and guidelines about how you can write formal termination letters and ensure that you write it in a professional manner. By following the tips and guidelines that we have, you will surely come up with a formal termination letter in the nick of time.
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Writing a Formal Termination Letter
Deciding on whether you should terminate an employee or not can be a pretty difficult task. However, letting the employee know that you are terminating him/her may even be harder. Explaining everything to the employee can be pretty nerve-racking, but you have to do it anyway. Drafting a well-written employee termination letter is needed for this purpose to ensure that the employee has a good understanding of as to why he/she had to be terminated. We would like to share a couple of guidelines and tips for you to follow in order to make sure that your job termination letter ends up being a good one.
Before we start with writing the letter, you have to make preparations first. Here are some of the preparations that you would need to do.
- Determine what is the current relationship that the employer has with the employer. What we mean by this is that you should review whether the employee is a contracted employee or an at-will employee. For the former, you have to make sure that you review the employment agreement contract that the employee signed to ensure that you do not break any provisions regarding terminating an employee.
- Make sure that you have evidence. This will help the employee understand better why he/she is being terminated. Your evidence could be in the form of employee feedback forms, employee performance matrices, observation feedback forms, and other forms of evidence. The main idea is to conduct a proper investigation regarding the termination to ensure that the reason/s why the employee is being terminated is valid.
- Deal with things in a fair manner. If there is anything that you find is not clear to you or if you are unsure about something regarding the termination, do not be afraid to seek legal advice from an experienced lawyer. You want to make sure that you abide by state laws provided to ensure that you are conducting the termination process in a proper manner.
Now that you have an idea about what you will need to prepare, it is high time you start drafting the termination letter.
Drafting the Formal Termination Letter
- Start with the heading. Your company letterhead template will include important details about your company such as company/business name, company address, and contact details such as email and telephone number. The rest of the heading will have the following:
- The date the letter was drafted
- The phrase “Personal and Confidential” since the content of the letter is strictly for the eyes of the recipient only
- Employee details such as the employee’s name, complete address, and contact information
- Be direct. Make sure that you start off in a straightforward manner. Let the employee know that the decision you had to make was not an easy one. Explain directly why there is a need for him/her to be terminated or laid off from his/her job. Make sure that you also include the effective date of termination.
- Be specific. For example, if you are terminating an employee because of poor performance, make sure that you give the specifics and that you include documentation about the employee’s performance. Be specific with the reasons that you will be giving the employee especially if the reason for termination is due to the following:
- Inadequate performance or performance is not up to par with what is expected of him/her.
- Poor attendance which can refer to unauthorized absences and constant tardiness.
- Laid off because of financial struggles that the company is currently going through.
- Final paycheck. Let the employee know how he/she will be able to get his/her final paycheck. Give an explanation about what he/she is entitled to such as separation pay or severance pay.
- Ask for company property back. If possible, list down all the company property that has been lent to the employee and politely ask for these items back. This can include laptops, office keys, cellular phones, company ID, company passes, etc.
- Reiterate non-compete and non-disclosure clauses. Gently remind the employee about these clauses. Refer the back to these clauses by stating, “As per the Employment Agreement you have signed last [DATE], you agreed to a non-compete clause in section [CONTRACT SECTION].” You can learn more about these clauses by reading up on Confidentiality Agreements Samples and Templates.
- Offer to write a recommendation letter. Offering to write a recommendation letter can help the employee feel a little bit better about the termination. You can read up on Employee Recommendation Letters to know more about how you can come up with a good recommendation letter for the employee.
- Provide a section for signatures. Prepare two of these as you will need the employee to sign a copy as well. One of the copies will also be provided to the employee while the other one will be kept for company records.
- Provide attachments if necessary. Attachments can be copies of documentation such as evaluation forms and benefits package upon termination if there are any.
Are you writing a termination due to disciplinary causes? Check out How to Write a Disciplinary Termination Letter to find out how.
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Are Termination Letters Always Necessary?
The necessity to provide one will all depend on the relationship that an employee has with an employer. A ton of times, at-will employees do not get one as they can be fired by an employer anytime they want to do. This is because there is no federal law that requires an employer to give one. However, it would be a good practice to do so despite the lack of laws for termination notice letters. This way, employees will know why they are being fired or laid off from work through a written document.
Ending an employee’s employment in a company should be taken seriously and should be properly executed to ensure that you avoid getting into sticky and legal situations with your employee. A wrong move or an invalid reason for terminating an employee can be taken against you by the employee. This is why writing a formal employment termination letter should be done carefully as these are considered to be legal documents. You need to think about fairness and ethics when it comes to terminating employees.
The main goal as to why we have decided to include free termination letter samples and templates is to ensure that you are able to provide your soon-to-be former employee all the information that he/she needs to know about the termination. Just always remember that if there is anything that is unclear to you, you should make sure to consult an attorney.
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