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Termination Letters Legal Forms

Designed for use by employers who must terminate an employee.

Termination Letters specifically designed for use by employers who must terminate an employee. Whether the termination is for cause or comes after an unsatisfactory probationary period, these letters contain the information which must be given to the terminated employee, including wage and insurance information.

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.

How to Craft Termination Letters for Your Business

Ending your relationship with an employee is never an easy thing – even if it brings a sigh of relief at the end of the day. Even forgetting the human element to employment termination, it’s important to remember that every business can potentially risk a wrongful termination lawsuit if everything is not handled carefully. That’s where the finely-crafted termination letter comes in.

Termination letters are vital to a business in that they help you define and put into writing the reason for termination – and put an end to the paperwork that lead to the termination in the first place. As long as the job was properly defined from the beginning and the employee has not lived up to their end of the bargain, your company should be safe.

But let’s concentrate on that always-important termination letter and reveal just how they accomplish that difficult task of letting someone go.

Putting it Into Legalese

A good termination letter should not sound too inhuman or robotic – in other words, it should not sound like it was crafted strictly in legalese. Rather, it should have a warm and understanding tone to it – or, at the very least, a clear and concise language with a directness that even a terminated employee can appreciate.

But it’s still important that your termination letter hit on all the right legal notes. It should define the end of the employment, giving it a specific date. Generally, termination letters don’t always include the reason for termination – so try to consult your human resources department on this specific topic, as each employee’s termination is different.

What’s important about your termination letter is that it clearly conveys what is happening and expresses clear terms for how this will occur.

Staying Connected to an Employee

A good termination letter should accomplish its job and accomplish little more. If you want to stay connected with an employee, it should be done outside the bounds of your legal duties in terms of termination. Instead, staying connected to an employee due to a personal relationship should stay personal.

That’s why it’s important that you don’t cloud up your termination letter with too much explanation. Any attempt to dull the language too far or make the termination appear softer could actually give the terminated party a legal edge in any potential litigation they pursue against you. Whatever your policy for treating employees, be sure that your termination letter accomplishes its legal goals. Then focus on any other areas you feel you need to focus on.

Remembering this distinction between a termination letter and the way your company ultimately handles a termination is a great way to understand exactly what should happen in a termination. It’s not an easy thing, but it should be done right, and the connection should be cut as clearly as possible. This is not always an easy thing to do – particularly in difficult economic times – but using downloaded legal forms can help you craft a termination letter that accomplishes its goals.

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