November 23, 2020  
 
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Terminating Employees

 

Instant Dismissal Letter

Someday an employee is going to do something so egregious that it demands an on-the-spot termination. When that day comes, you'll be glad you took the time to prepare an instant dismissal letter in advance.

Like most employers, you try to avoid ugly employee situations whenever possible.
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But sometimes it's impossible to overlook a serious policy violation. If the infraction is serious enough, probation or disciplinary procedures won't suffice and the employee needs to be terminated immediately.

An instant dismissal letter notifies an employee that he has been terminated and that his termination is effective immediately. The letter shouldn't come as a surprise to the employee since he already knows that a workplace event has left him in a precarious employment position. So in many ways, the instant dismissal letter simply confirms that the termination has occurred and describes the termination process.

More importantly, instant dismissal letters document the legal basis for the termination, eliminating the potential for disgruntled employees to claim that the dismissal occurred for reasons other than the ones stated in the dismissal letter.

  • Summary of termination status. If you have already notified the employee that termination is imminent and are using the instant dismissal letter as a way of making termination immediate, you will need to reference prior conversations at the beginning of the instant dismissal letter to set the stage for the current action.
  • Description of event. Next, the instant dismissal letter provides details about the event that has necessitated immediate termination. Leave ample space to discuss specific actions, locations, dates, names and any other details that are related to the event.
  • Reference to policy violation. For legal purposes, your dismissal letters should tie the employee's behavior to a specific policy violation. Reference the exact policy that has been violated and make sure your action is in compliance with the description of the policy in the employee handbook.
  • Severance issues. You probably won't offer a severance package to an employee that has been terminated due to a gross infraction of company policy. But the employee may be entitled to back pay or other benefits that need to be addressed in the termination letter. As an added precaution, identify the address where you will send the individual's final paycheck.
  • Subsequent contact. The letter should direct the individual to channel subsequent communication through a designated staff person, usually an in-house HR rep who has a background in termination protocols.

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