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Employee Termination Letter

Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor

When to Use

When a final, official decision has been made to terminate an employee for "cause" or misconduct, HR professionals should use this letter as a template to craft an official notice of termination to the exiting employee.

Ideally, this letter should be sent to an employee after a formal termination meeting has occurred, during which time HR should have already collected any company property, including access cards or keys and company-owned electronic devices. It is almost always best practice to inform an employee of termination in person, with few exceptions. If the HR professional is concerned about violence or escalation of a tense situation, then he or she should discuss it with legal counsel before proceeding with a termination meeting or sending a termination letter.

It is important to formalize this process so that the employer can memorialize (and later prove) the decision to terminate, the timing of the decision, and ultimately, the formal end of the employment relationship. If a post-termination dispute were to arise, or if a former employee were to bring a lawsuit after termination, this letter will almost certainly become a piece of evidence considered by a judge or a jury. HR professionals should always keep that in mind when writing a termination letter.

This letter is also significant in that it should clearly communicate a final decision, the formal end of the employment relationship, and the existence and parameters for any post-termination benefits or obligations. To the extent HR professionals can be effective in communicating that information, the letter will serve to educate and comfort the exiting employees, and possibly even diffuse otherwise tense situations.

Customizable Letter