How to Write a Termination Letter

Learning how to write a termination letter is one of the toughest tasks for a manager or supervisor. Termination letters should be the final step in the termination process, written and delivered only after you have had several discussions with the employee and given the employee opportunities to take corrective action. Unless the employee has been particularly hostile, there is a proper tone to take with this kind of business letter.

The termination letter should accomplish three goals:

  • To describe the action and disciplinary methods taken up to this point
  • To reinforce the company policy on termination
  • To provide information regarding dates, timelines and final compensation

Never use hostile language or an inflammatory tone in a termination letter. Also, keep the business letter short and to the point; details about any incidents can exist in separate documents in the employee's file. Finally, ensure that the letter conveys a tone of professionalism and compassion.

Dear {employee's name},

As we have previously discussed, your workplace behavior has been a concern for the past three months. Disciplinary warnings have been issued on {dates of warnings}; however, there is no evidence of a behavior change. This is in accordance with our company three-strike policy.

With the most recent formal complaint by a fellow employee (June 28th), the pattern of misconduct is evident, and your unwillingness to modify your behavior to fit our mandatory standards gives us no choice but to terminate your employment. Please consider this termination in effect immediately. You will receive {severance or other pay}, with the final check mailed to your home address.

We wish you a bright future in whatever endeavor you choose to pursue.

Sincerely,
{employer or supervisor's name}

A termination letter should always be delivered to the employee with an "effective immediately" message. This is to avoid any escalation of hostile feelings or actions, as well as to protect the company from any retaliatory actions, such as stealing supplies, contacting clients, sabotaging projects or simply spreading gossip.

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