Under the law, employers have the right to select and engage the services of individuals or group of individuals. Accompanying this right is the right to fire and terminate the employment of such individuals under reasonable grounds. However, such prerogative is not unlimited nor absolute. As a matter of public policy, there are certain limitations of such right.
In connection to this, writing a termination letter can be stressful on the employer’s end. There are various factors and angles to consider to ensure that the employee was legally and validly dismissed. When it comes to termination letters, the principles of fair play and justice are very important. However, some employers neglect or ignore such principles.
Nature of a Termination Letter
A termination letter is considered as a formal notice to a designated employee that the employer decided to terminate his or her services due to specific, reasonable, and legitimate reasons. It is mostly written by the Human resource manager with the authority extended by the managers and supervisors of a company or organization.
Are you Guilty of the Following Formatting Mistakes?
Here are common formatting mistakes committed by employers in the course of preparing a termination letter.
Too Much Information
Some employers make it a habit to write verbose termination letters. As much as possible, these type of letters must be brief, concise and straightforward. Avoid including unnecessary information that has no bearing on the termination case.
Examples of such information are the following:
- subjective commentaries or opinions
- mere allegations without any proof
- including irrelevant facts
- including unverified facts
Adopting an Informal Letter Outline
When it comes writing a job termination letter, the quality of the content must be at par with the format or outline of the letter. All the basic or essential components of a formal letter must be included. The absence of one can be detrimental to the structure of the letter and make it appear and sound informal.
The basic elements of a formal letter are the following:
- company letterhead
- date of issuance
- address of the sender and the inside address
- professional salutation
- the main body of the letter which may include the introduction, reasons for the termination, and other important sections
- closing statements which may include a call to action
- signatures of the parties
- other importance enclosures of a formal letter
Existence of Grammar Issues and Writing Inconsistencies
One should be very keen in writing and sending termination letter. Ensure that the letter was reviewed and proofread by proper authorities. A letter with grammar issues can appear and sound unprofessional.
Bear in mind that the outline of the letter will guide you in supplying what type of information is needed. On the one hand, it will also guide the reader or recipient of the letter.
What Are the Common Procedural and Substantive Mistakes?
It is undeniable that mistakes in terms of the procedural and substantive aspect of writing a termination letter can be detrimental to the operations and business name of the company. Taking into account the court-related expenses, the negativity in terms of public opinion, and much more.
To avoid these type of situations, take note of the following termination letter mistakes and learn from them.
Using the Short-Cut Method
Following a convenient and speedy termination procedure is not at all a negative thing as long as the means are legitimate, reasonable, and lawful. However, short-cut methods are prone to procedural mistakes, especially if human resource policies are neglected and ignored. This matter specifically concerns HR personnel or authorities who are obliged under the law to uphold and monitor the rights and responsibilities employees.
To answer this problem, your company may come up with its own rule-book about termination procedures which are based on governing labor laws and procedures regarding employment termination cases in your letter. Such action coupled with consistent implementation can boost employer’s credibility.
The Absence of Proper Documentation
Mere allegations and speculations will not suffice the employer’s decision to terminate or dismiss a certain employee. Depending on the grounds wherein the decision was anchored on, evidence must be provided to substantiate the claims. For instance, the ground for termination is the poor work performance of the employee, there should be records to support such allegation such as employee performance review forms, assessment records, warning letters, and much more.
Speaking of performance reviews, employers must adopt a consistent and comprehensive system of appraising and evaluating their employees’ work performance and personality-related dynamics.
No Proper Investigation and Validation of Facts
It would be prejudicial on the part of the employee if his or her side of the story is factored out or worse not heard at all. The appreciation of facts must be comprehensive and holistic. Ensure that the facts written in this particular business letter are validated because a termination letter has legal effects and consequences.
Termination without Due Notice
Depending on the substantive labor laws of a particular state, most countries require due notice to the employee before termination can be invoked validly. The absence of such notice can tantamount to employment discrimination.
The Lack of Termination Date
The effectivity date of a termination letter is very significant. It is the reckoning period which marked the end of the employer-employee relationship between the parties to an employment contract as well as the last payment terms. Always include the effectivity date of termination in your letter.
Aside from the above-mentioned mistakes that you need to take note and avoid at the same time, here are additional tips to help you ace and perfect the type of termination letter you’re currently working on.
Be objective and neutral.
For HR officers specifically, they should be objective and neutral in every step of the process. His or her own biases should not cloud his or her judgment.
Adopt a professional and positive tone.
Termination letters may sound negative that is why you should not inflict or add more insult to injury. The language used must be positive and professional.
In the end of the day, termination letters do not just mark the end of a certain relationship. It can also be an avenue for the employer and the employee to maintain their professional and sound relationship even beyond employment terms.