Terminating Employees

Termination Of Employment

The process of firing or laying off employees is never fun. But it can become even more grueling if you aren't careful about the content you include in the termination letter. Here are our tips for writing effective termination of employment letters.

There's probably something wrong with you if enjoy terminating employees.

he simple truth is that hiring or laying off workers is one of the least attractive parts of a small business owner's job description. But it's also a necessary part - and if you blow it, it could have dramatic consequences for your company's future.

Employee termination has to be conducted in a manner that is fair, consistent and in compliance with legal understandings. It's not uncommon for employers to consult an attorney before they release an employee, especially if employee termination is something that occurs infrequently in the company.

But regardless of whether you consult an attorney or not, termination of employment letters need to include several elements designed to insulate your business from the effects of wrongful termination accusations and litigation.

  • Meeting follow-up. A termination letter is usually a follow-up on a face-to-face meeting at which a supervisor or HR rep has notified the employee of the termination. The letter should reference the meeting and state the purpose of the letter as a follow-up action.
  • Summary of reasons for termination. Termination letters reinforce the reasons why the company is releasing the individual. Again, since this is a follow-up action, the reasons should already have been spelled out at the meeting. The termination letter is simply providing documentation.
  • Termination details. The termination should also describe the details of the termination including effective date and any accrued vacation or sick days. If your company is offering the individual a termination package, describe the details of the package in this section.
  • Right to appeal (if any). In some workplaces, employees have a right to appeal a termination decision. If applicable, remind the employee about the appeal process and any relevant deadlines by which they need to initiate an appeal.
  • Employee signature. If possible, secure a dated signature from the employee. Although some employees will refuse to sign the document, many will understand that a signature is required in order to receive termination benefits or accrued vacation time.
  • Attachments. In many instances, it's appropriate to include attachments such as employee policies and supporting material that validates the reason for termination.

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