Employers will want to write a termination letter when they fire an employee. The termination letter confirms the details of the firing and summarizes the information that the now-former employee will need to know.
As the employer, you will want to retain a copy of the termination letter in the employee's personnel file so that you preserve a record for potential future use. These records come in handy when, for example, an employee who was fired files for unemployment, writes an application in the future for rehire in another position, or files a lawsuit in a more unusual, but not unknown, situation.
You will want to have your legal bases carefully covered. In some cases of employment termination, if you expect the employment termination to become sticky, or unusual, you will want to involve your attorney. Work out the details with your own employment law attorney so that you are in agreement on what situations require the attorney's intervention.
Sample Termination Letters for Different Situations
This first sample termination letter is an example of the most simple, direct form of termination letter. You can use this termination letter in most instances when you let an employee go. It should be printed on company stationery and either handed to the employee at the termination meeting or mailed to the employee's known address with a signed return receipt recommended.
This simple termination letter does not provide the reason for the employment termination when no reason is provided (employment at will) during the termination meeting.
The second sample termination letter is an example of the type of notification you should provide to an employee whose employment was terminated for a cause.
What to Do in Any Employment Termination Situation
In all cases of termination, the employer needs to retain the documented background counseling, coaching sessions, efforts to help the employee improve, the status of an employee's progress on a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP), and any other documented proof that the employer tried to prevent the need for termination.
Under usual circumstances, the manager or supervisor and a representative from Human Resources will hold the termination meeting with the employee. In a union-represented workplace, the employee is likely to want his or her representative present as well. This protects the employer from false claims about what occurred during the meeting.
The termination letter summarizes what was said at the meeting. The termination letter confirms the details of the employment termination.
Sample Termination Letter
This is a termination letter example. Download the termination letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample Termination Letter (Text Version)
Ms. Catherine Smith
1845 Shorter Street
Myron, Illinois 40702
This letter confirms our discussion today that your employment with Willis Corporation is terminated effective immediately.
You will receive two weeks severance pay since your employment with Willis Corporation has been less than one year. You will receive the severance payment once you have signed and returned the enclosed release of claims document.
Additionally, payment for your accrued PTO will be included 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. Let us know about your choice.
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 the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) continuation of group health coverage.
We have received from you already your security swipe card, your office key, and the company-owned laptop and cell phone at the termination meeting.
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 and followup COBRA information.
Please let us know if we can assist you during your transition.
Name of Human Resources Representative or Company Owner
*Please note that laws regarding the final paycheck may vary from state to state and country to country.
Second Sample Termination Letter (Text Version)
This sample termination letter differs from the prior because this employee was terminated for cause.
June 8, 2020
Mr. George Gonzalez
1831 Smith St.
Arcadia, LA 71001
The purpose of this letter is to follow up with you after your termination meeting this morning. It contains information you will need as you seek new employment opportunities.
First, due to the termination of your employment, if you return to the workplace, your presence will be considered trespassing. You cleared out your cubicle and took all of your personal belongings with you and you turned in your company laptop and employee badge so you should have no reason to return.
We are not offering you any severance pay because your employment was terminated for a cause which we covered with you at the termination meeting.
Your accrued PTO will be included in your final paycheck* which you will receive on our regular payday, one week from this Friday. We will mail your final paycheck to the address we have on record which is where we are sending this termination letter. If this is not the proper address for the paycheck, please send an email to the HR manager, Ellen Parling, with the preferred address.
We will send a separate benefits status letter that will outline the benefits you will receive following the termination of your employment. The letter will include information about your eligibility for COBRA, a continuation of group health coverage.
Please keep the HR office up-to-date on your contact information so that we are able to provide the information you may need in the future such as your W-2 form and the follow-up COBRA information.
Quality Department Manager