Want to see several examples of letters you can send to an employee following their employment termination for cause? Here you will also find recommendations about a general approach to use when employment is terminated for cause.
General Approach to Use Termination for Cause Follow-Up Letters
Employment is terminated for many reasons either voluntarily by an employee or involuntarily by an employer. In no case is the employer on firmer ground than in employment termination situations when the employee was fired for a serious reason—for cause, so to say.
You can send a letter of termination to the employee following the termination meeting with return receipt requested. Or you can hand the termination letter to the employee at the end of the meeting. It should be printed on company stationery with the official signature of the employee's manager.
Prior to the termination meeting—even in situations that are termination for cause—you will want to avoid any behavior or actions that can be considered illegal. Additionally, you may want to speak to your employment law attorney to avoid taking any actions that a court could see as discriminatory. She can help you stay out of legal hot water.
Under normal circumstances, the manager or supervisor and a representative from Human Resources will hold the termination meeting with the employee. This meeting to terminate the employee for cause should occur as soon as the organization has the information, documentation, and proof necessary to know that they need to fire the employee.
The letter of termination summarizes and documents what was said at the meeting. These are examples of a letter of termination that were written for and state the reasons for the employment termination.
Sample Letter of Termination for Cause
Background: In this first sample termination for cause letter, the employee was misleading potential customers about his title and status within his organization. Proof of this misleading behavior occured at a trade show.
Customers came to the booth repeatedly asking for the Vice President of Marketing. At the time, the small company had no VPs of anything. The termination for cause meeting was held and this is the follow-up letter.
Mr. Bill Jordan
1618 W. 57th Street
Milton, MA 02186
This letter will confirm our meeting discussion today. Your employment with Smith Consolidated is terminated for cause, effective immediately.
Your employment, as discussed during the termination meeting, is terminated because you told potential clients and purchasers of our products that you were a Vice President of Smith Consolidated. You are actually a manager and this misrepresentation of your membership in our company executive group is an egregious violation of our code of conduct.
Additionally, by assigning yourself the title of vice president, you poised yourself as an officer of our company with the capability of making certain decisions that were not within your job description to make.
Payment for your accrued PTO** will be included in your final paycheck* which you will receive on our regular payday, Friday. We can mail your final paycheck to your home or you can make arrangements with your supervisor to pick it up.
You can expect a separate benefits status letter that will outline the status of your benefits upon termination. The letter will include information about your eligibility for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation of group health coverage.
We have received from you at the termination meeeting, your security swipe card, your office keys, and the company owned laptop and cell phone.
You will need to keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future such as your W-2 form.
Name of Manager or Company Owner
Second Sample Letter of Termination for Cause
Background: The second employee can't learn the job. This sample letter originated as a response to a reader question.
"The jobs in our sales department have changed a great deal in the past year. Rather than making individual customer sales the priority, all salespeople were asked to begin emphasizing sales to enterprises. This switch requires a different skill set that not all employees have learned.
"We provided training for over six months, coaching by the department’s director, and mentoring from coworkers who were catching on. One employee, in particular, has not caught on and continues to make strategic errors in his approach to our potential customers.
"A year into the changing goals and direction, we do not believe that this employee can learn the new ways. Yes, we changed his job and our direction. But, we do not have another position for which he is qualified.
"Can we terminate his employment?"
When an employer has provided every opportunity for an employee to learn a new job, you can terminate his employment. But, if he legitimately tried to learn the new job, you might want to consider providing severance pay for the employee.
After all, he was performing the job until you changed the job. Learning the new proved more than he could do. You will want to speak with your attorney and make certain that you have appropriate documentation for your efforts to help the employee transition.
You also need to know that your actions in this termination can set a precedent for your company, so the attorney’s involvement is crucial.
Here’s how to ethically and legally fire an employee.
Sample Termination Letter for Cause
Mr. Thomas Henshaw
23456 Grand River Ave.
East Lansing, MI 48823
This letter confirms our discussion today that your employment is terminated effective immediately.
Despite the year we invested in training, coaching, and mentoring for you, you have been unable to make the transition to the new direction and methods now used in the sales department.
You will receive one week of severance pay for each year that you have worked for us. With 3 years of employment, you will receive 3 weeks of severance pay at your normal weekly salary. We will also continue to provide health insurance coverage for you through the end of the month.
Additionally, we will include payment for your accrued PTO** in your final paycheck* which you will receive on our regular payday, Friday. You may pick up this check from the reception desk or we can mail it to your home.
You will receive the severance payment once you have signed and returned the enclosed release of claims document and we have waited the legal number of days required for you to change your mind.
You can expect a separate letter that will outline the status of your benefits upon termination. The letter will also include information about your eligibility for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation of group health coverage.
You returned your office key, the door entry badge, and the company-owned laptop and cell phone at the termination meeting.
Please keep the company informed of your contact information so that we are able to provide information, that you may need in the future such as your W-2 form for this year.
If you wish us to provide employment information to potential employers, please sign and return the enclosed form. It gives us your permission to divulge your employment to potential employers.
Please let us know if you have questions.
Name of Human Resources Representative or Company Owner
Enclosures - 2
*Please note that laws regarding the final paycheck may vary from state to state and country to country.
**Accrual of time such as PTO, vacation, and personal time also may vary from state to state and country to country. It is also governed by the policies in your employee handbook.
Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided, while authoritative, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. The site is read by a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.