Simplified Steps in Writing a Termination Letter to an Employee

It is a given fact that most employers do not enjoy writing a termination letter. The said undertaking is not just daunting but also demands a certain degree of technicality and legal knowledge. It is worth noting that there is an increasing rate of complaints regarding illegal dismissal or termination of employment. For employers that are involved in such cases, it can have a negative effect on their reputation and overall public image especially their dealings with the clients.

To avoid this kind of situations, employers must know the correct and appropriate means, processes, and procedures to undergo before writing and forwarding a termination of employment letter.

Defining an Employment Termination Letter

Generally, an employment termination letter is the official correspondence used by employers in conveying their decision to terminate the services rendered by an employee. They are not just a statement of intention but also a legally binding decision made by an employer unless the employee questions its validity in another forum.

Preliminary Matters

Before writing an employment termination letter, the employer must ensure that all the procedures outlined and mandated by the labor laws observed and implemented in their country are complied with. An employee’s right to due process is inviolable and cannot be deprived. Here are some points that employers should consider before drafting an employment termination letter.

Come up with a comprehensive checklist.

The employer can prepare a checklist or a work to-do list regarding the documents and processes that he or she has to comply with. For them not to miss a necessary and fundamental step or document to prepare, preparing a checklist can truly help.

Review the employment status of the employee.

Bear in mind that effective termination letters are the ones that are written comprehensively, diligently, and carefully taking into account the possible effects of such letter. For HR officers and personnel specifically, they need to comprehensively review the employee’s profile and other documentary records. You need to determine the nature of work of the employee, the scope of his or her job, his immediate supervisors, and much more which could have a bearing on his or her termination.

Consider the previous performance reviews and documentary records.

As a matter of law, there are a variety of notices and process that an employee may receive and undergo, respectively, before the employer can validly terminate the former’s services. You may need to look into the following:

  • employment warning letters or notices
  • coaching and intervention papers or documentations
  • employee assessment or appraisal forms
  • employment records which pertain to the employee’s behavior

The purpose of reviewing the above-mentioned documents is to ensure that the employer exerted due diligence in the supervision of their employees and gave avenues for the latter to improve and rectify his or her mistakes.

Conduct a personal meeting with the employee.

The HR personnel designated to handle the employee’s case should schedule an appointment with the employee to talk about the latter’s termination case. If you anticipate a possible negative reaction, you can also bring with you other persons that supervise the employee in the conduct of the latter’s work. Moreover, it is advisable that you anticipate possible questions that the employee may inquire regarding his or her case.

These are some preliminary matters that employers may consider before drafting the letter. These are essential points to consider to ensure that you create an effective letter that is free from biases and arbitrary decisions.

Steps in Writing an Employment Termination Letter

After considering the above-mentioned preliminaries, the actual writing of the letter will be easy. You may refer to the following steps:

Use the company letterhead.

Take note that you’re dealing with a formal and business letter. You must the updated company letterhead to make it professional and official. The company letterhead usually contains the full legal name of the company, its business address, updated contact numbers, professional email address, and the like.

Create a short introduction about the change in the employment status.

At the outset, the letter must clearly indicate that the employee is terminated or dismissed from his or her work. Avoid going around the bush. Be straightforward in order to avoid conflicting interpretations. To make it less negative, you may start the first statement with emphatic statements. Such as “We regret…” or “ We feel sorry…”.

Discuss the reasons behind your decision.

This section right is considered as the critical aspect of a termination letter. You should cite valid, reasonable, and legitimate grounds that support the said termination. There are a variety of reasons why employees get terminated such as gross misconduct, gross negligence in the performance of his or her duties, absenteeism, violation of a company policy and much more.

Aside from the violations and grounds expressly provided by the employment contract, you may also refer to grounds for just causes of termination sanctioned by labor laws and policies of your country.

Create a statement of facts and evidentiary support.

It would be prejudicial on the employee’s end if you just provide conclusions of law in the letter absent of any factual explanations. Briefly and concisely provide the facts wherein the said ground or violation arise.

Furthermore, you also need to indicate that all the due process procedures are complied with and that the employee was given the opportunity to defend his or herself and there were coaching and other forms of assistance extended to the employee. This is true for dismissal cases exclusively due to the misconduct of the employee.

As for causes beyond the control of the employee such as financial difficulties of the company, sufficient explanation and proof must also be provided.

Request for the return of company property.

In the concluding part of the letter, you can demand the return of the company properties that were under the custody and accountability of the employee. You may specify a period for the completion of such.

And lastly, the terms of final compensation must also be added especially in cases wherein the employee was dismissed for reasons beyond his or her control or other circumstances that the law obliges employers to compensate their employee regarding the latter’s termination.

Indeed, writing a termination letter is made easy with the set of guidelines and key points provided above. However, that termination cases vary and you must holistically consider the context of the case.