Five Things Employers Need in Their Termination Letters
Firing an employee is rarely easy. Even in cases where the employee is unfit to work at your company, the circumstances leading to the termination are usually unpleasant, to say the least. And when you have to let someone go because of economics – well, that can just be downright gut-wrenching. But despite these obstacles, ending someone’s employment at your company needs to be rooted in good business practices and a legal framework every time if you are to do it effectively.
Many businesses put their termination in writing with a termination letter. This is a good idea – and a good piece of paper to keep for your own records. But let’s make sure your termination letter actually does what it’s supposed to by reviewing five pieces of information you don’t want to leave out.
1. Basic information: who are the parties involved?
The first thing you need in your termination letter is similar to the information you’d put in any letter. You need to establish who the letter is from and who the letter is to, even if the idea seems superfluous. After all, if you’re keeping this paper for your records, then you’re realizing the potential that you’ll have to show someone else this information one day – and other people need that information.
2. Announce the termination and effective date.
It’s not enough to tell someone that their employment is terminated – although this should be included in the termination letter. You’ll also want to mark the date the termination is effective so that the timing of the termination is clear both for the employee and for your records. Make sure you provide the proper timing for termination according to the employment agreement.
3. Follow your employment agreement.
Speaking of that agreement, you’ll want to make sure that your termination letter outlines terms that are acceptable as per the employment agreement created when the employee was hired. For instance, if the circumstances of the firing warrant the employee a severance package, now is the time to announce that package. You may also use this opportunity in the termination letter to announce the presence of an additional packet of information about severance, benefits, etc.
4. If warranted, offer a kind word or even help.
In firing some employees, the end-goal is simply having them out of your hair. But terminating employment is not always so cut-and-dry, which is why you’ll want to offer a kind word, even if it’s just a brief sentence asking if there’s anything you can do to help. It’s important that you don’t go overboard on this part to avoid looking like you’re overcompensating for something – but it represents a nice gesture nonetheless.
5. Sign your name and keep the entire structure short and sweet.
Once you’ve included the preceding four ideas in your termination letter, be sure that you don’t let the letter go on and on. Remember that this termination letter is something that you’re committing to writing; shorter is sweeter, and makes for a lower chance that you’ll end up making mistakes. Sign your name at the bottom – or have the appropriate official in your company do so – and the letter will be ready.