Employee Termination Letters: How to Let Go of Employees

Letting go of employees is always hard, but writing an employee termination letter doesn't have to be. Use these templates to help.

Disclaimer: Bryq does not offer legal advice, nor is this blog post a legal document. We strongly encourage you to seek legal counsel from a law professional to learn more about employee termination, and what you might need to do within your own organization.

There’s no easy way to terminate an employee. Our employees do the best they can to help our businesses shine. They put in overtime, they advocate for our brands, and they do their best to contribute positively towards our company culture. We need our employees because we’d be nothing without them. There are steps that can be taken to avoid employee termination from happening, but there are going to be times where it just needs to happen. Sometimes their job performance just isn’t up to par, and sometimes we just don’t have the means to keep them employed. No matter what the situation is, it’s never a fun predicament to be in. It’s even worse to have to break the news to them.

In our latest blog, we discuss the reasons we have behind employee termination letters, best practices, and what you can do to make the situation less awkward. We also put together easy-to-use templates that you can use to break bad news to employees.

Research Before Writing

Employee termination letters are important to get right. The last thing you want to do is get yourself into legal trouble because you didn’t do your research. Letting go of an employee isn’t always black and white. There are rules and steps you need to follow before you can click “send” on their termination letter.

Firstly, your HR department should have a consistent disciplinary process that they use to reprimand employees. If your company does not have this, be sure to implement a discipline protocol that HR consistently abides by. Every employee should go through the same disciplinary process to avoid claims of favoritism or bias. If there are cases in which an employee might be fired without warning, be sure to make those clear in your Code of Conduct. Employees should always be given written warnings before termination in any other circumstance. If an employee receives several warnings, they shouldn’t be surprised when this termination letter arrives in their inbox. If you had a formal HR meeting with an employee about their termination before sending their termination letter, it’s important to put anything important discussed in the meeting into written form. Avoid miscommunication at all costs.

Also, make sure that you are legally allowed to terminate this employee. Be sure to look into your federal EEO laws. Laws for terminating employees will vary from state to state, and different countries have different labor laws. To be sure that you are abiding by local legislation, we recommend consulting with a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of employment law within your jurisdiction.

Employee Termination Letters: Must-Have Metrics

Employee termination letters are formal documents that should be as detailed as possible. Not only do details help you avoid potential lawsuits, but they also help to avoid any awkward conversations that might result between you and the employee you are letting go of.

Be sure to include the exact termination date and give an explicit, clear reason for the employee’s dismissal. The termination date should always be within the notice period you and your employee agreed upon as per their contract. The reason for dismissal should not be vague, and there should be no questions as to why they are being terminated.

Gather the documents needed in order to write your letter. Employees need to know about compensation they are entitled to, information about their health insurance (such as when it will become ineffective), and information about financial items such as their 401K, retirement plan, or pension. The more information you give them about these items, the less questions they’ll have once they’ve read the letter over. Go over any steps in the dismissal process that need to be clarified, such as returning equipment owned by the company or expected exit interviews.

While it’s important to include the above items in a termination letter, it’s just as important to leave things out. Letting go of an employee is no laughing matter, so all jokes should be set aside when writing one.

Employee Termination Letter Templates

Template #1

[Date of Letter]

Dear [Full Employee Name]

This letter is to confirm the termination of your role as [Position] with [Company]. As discussed in our meeting on [date of discussion], your employment with us ends on [termination date].

As previously explained, this termination is due to [termination reasons]. On [date of final pay], you will receive your final pay. This includes [details of any sick pay, vacation time, or severance that you will pay out.]

You are required to return any company property that is currently in your possession. Your health care plan will end on [date health care plan will end]. After this time, you can continue with the group coverage, information for which is attached, or you can find another plan. Your 401k is administered with [401K company]. We will be in touch to schedule an exit interview within the week.

Please review the attached copy of this letter and let me know if you have any questions.


[Name and signature of HR Manager or decision-maker]

Template #2

[Date of Letter]

Dear [Full Employee Name]

Across the last few months, [Company] has experienced significant financial setbacks due to the fluctuating market. We have tried to find innovative solutions to combat these issues. However, we are now in the process of needing to restructure and lay off staff due to these struggles.

We have come to the realization that we must lay off a number of employees. It is with sincere regret that I inform you that you are one of them. Your role as [Position] will end on [termination date].

Within the next 3 days, HR will be in touch with you to set up an exit interview. During this meeting, the cessation of your employee benefits will be discussed with you, as well as your final pay.

We have appreciated all of the hard work you have done for our company over the years.


[Name and signature of HR Manager or decision-maker]

Avoid Employee Termination With Bryq

Letting go of an employee is always hard, but writing a termination letter doesn’t have to be. Alleviate some of your stress by using some of Bryq’s termination letter templates. Our employees are the foundation our companies are built upon. Whether you are terminating employees due to financial concerns or because of performance issues, it is important to acknowledge the hard work they have contributed towards our businesses. We should always aim to cut ties as professionally as we possibly can. It’s what our employees deserve.

We hope that these are templates you rarely need to utilize. We also understand that employee retention is a huge concern for companies. At Bryq, our product ensures that companies hire the right candidate the first time. Many of the companies that Bryq has worked with have reported higher rates of employee retention. At Bryq, we can report a near-perfect employee retention rate. Our talent intelligence software assesses job candidates based on their personality traits and cognitive abilities. Our product is backed by I-O psychology and Holland’s theory, which is proven to predict job performance. If you hire the right employees, there should be no reason to terminate them due to performance.
Contact our Customer Success Team to book a demo with us, or go ahead and try out a 7-day free tria! If you have any questions, we’re here and ready to help!

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Book a meeting with our team today to find out!

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