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Process of Termination: Federal

Process of Termination requirements by state

Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor


  • Employers can substantially reduce the risk of wrongful termination litigation by ensuring that terminated employees are treated fairly, honestly and with compassion during the termination process. See The Process of Termination, Generally.
  • Before moving forward with a decision to terminate, employers are well-advised to ensure that they can substantiate the motivation for termination with proper documentation, representing full and accurate facts. See Documentation.
  • Once the employer has made the decision to terminate an employee, it should strive to be directed, concise and compassionate in notifying the employee in question. See Notifying Employees of Termination.
  • Employers should conduct exit interviews when an employee leaves the organization, regardless of that employee's tenure, stature in the organization or the reason(s) for his/her departure. Depending on the results of the interview, the employer may be obligated to take further action. See Exit Interviews.
  • A substantial number of lawsuits derive from the way a termination was handled by the HR professional, rather than the underlying reasons for termination. See Termination Meetings.
  • Once the employer has notified the employee of the termination of employment, the employer is then tasked with safeguarding the workplace to ensure that company property and other employees are not at risk of reprisal. See Safeguarding the Workplace After Termination.
  • In some cases, employers are obligated to provide certain types of benefits to employees after termination. See Benefits Upon Termination.
  • Depending on the reason(s) for termination, certain former employees may be eligible for unemployment compensation. See Unemployment Compensation.
  • Employers should always consider offering employees severance pay upon termination, particularly where they seek to have the outgoing employee execute a release of claims against the employer. See Severance Pay.
  • Employers should always encourage employees to execute a release of claims if they are concerned with the possibility of post-employment litigation. See Release of Claims.
  • If employees resign voluntarily, the employer should consider asking the employees to execute restrictive covenants in situations where the employee may be privy to valuable information that could harm the employer if used by a competitor. See Restrictive Covenants.
  • Employers are often faced with the difficult task of maintaining or improving employee morale following a termination or mass layoff. See Managing Remaining Employees After Termination.
  • Employers may face liability if they defame former employees in the process of providing post-employment recommendations to prospective employers. See Providing References for Terminated Employees.

State Requirements

The following states have additional requirements for this topic under applicable state law.

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