Sample Termination Letter: Terminating Employment


Our free sample termination letter and termination letter template tool will help to lessen the stress and anxiety that comes when being faced with terminating an employee.

"You have no choice - it's time to terminate this employee.”

You've dreaded this day because you suspect that you will be the focus of the person's anger and hurt. But you know you've done all you could possibly do for this employee and now it's time for both parties to move on.

Writing a letter of termination, in the whole scheme of things, should be one of the easier tasks since you will have already delivered the news verbally in most cases.

"Some people just aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."

We recommend that you only send this letter once you've discussed the decision in person.

The termination letter is more of a legal formality than anything else. It protects you and it protects your organization by stating clearly the reason for the termination, date of termination and other supporting information.

When preparing a letter of termination it is extremely important for the entire document to be free of any personal attacks, judgments, accusations, etc.

These kinds of statements can come off to third party observers (namely JURORS) as evidence of a personal vendetta. Therefore, it's best to prepare a short and concise letter stately only the plain facts of the situation.

Be completely up front in your letter as to the fact that this is an involuntary termination. Don't mince words or attempt to sugarcoat the plain truth. Just keep in mind that all statements you include in your termination letter can be used against you if the employee sues you for wrongful termination.

It is not necessary for you to include every detail leading up to the termination. Summarize, with perhaps a few keys dates of interest such as when the person was verbally warned; when she received a written warning; when she was given her final notice, etc.

It's best if you can show a pattern of negative behavior and/or performance, citing specific examples. You can also simply refer to past documents, rather than re-hash old issues in detail.

In conclusion, explain the reasons for termination clearly and remember to utilize our free example of termination letter template to keep you on track.

Sample Termination Letter Template Tips

Using our sample termination letter template, consider why your letter should be well written and carefully prepared. Protect yourself and your company by:

  • Speaking plainly without accusation or blame. Speak to only the facts and support those facts with specific examples and reference past documents that support your claim.
  • While this is difficult for you, keep in mind it's probably even more difficult for the person who is about to be unemployed.

    Remain compassionate and be sensitive to their needs during this difficult process. You can show your support and professionalism by presenting the facts without personal judgments attached.

  • Make certain that the termination is not a major surprise. If you are effectively communicating with this employee in your coaching meetings and various counseling sessions, the employee should have a fairly good idea of what's coming.

    After a verbal warning, written warning and final warning, the employee shouldn't be too surprised to learn of a termination - provided their performance and/or behavior hasn't drastically improved along the way.

  • Keep the conversation on a professional level. Leave out personal feelings or emotions of remorse or pity. This doesn't help you or the person being terminated.

    "Sometimes it's best for everyone involved to help an employee find happiness elsewhere."

    Be respectful, caring and understanding that this individual is now faced with moving on. Do your best to wish them well and let the person know that there are no hard feelings.

Remember, in the end there is only so much that you can control. As the person carrying out the termination, you can control the timing, the environment and how you deliver the message - but you cannot control how it will be received or reacted to. The terminated employee must own their own behavior.

Focus your efforts on what you can control, like using our sample termination letter. Worrying about how others will react will never do you any good, so why invest the time to worry?

In most cases when a termination is necessary, if the communication has been consistent along the way, the employee won't be surprised. In fact, he probably has plans to move on given his assumption that the termination is about to take place.

Most of the time, the employee already expects to be terminated and is just waiting for you to notify them of your decision to terminate their employment.

Access Free Termination Letter / Business Letter Template

Receive your free sample termination letter template, PLUS more business writing template tools by requesting our Business Letter Writing Tool. Access all sample business letter templates in one download. Every business letter example will save you time and ensure the right message is received.

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