Sample Termination Letter

Write a Termination Letter to Fire an Employee

Businesswoman packing up box in office after her employment was terminated
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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, a fired employee files for unemployment, applies for rehire in another position, or files a lawsuit in a more unusual, but not unknown, situation.

This 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 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. Upcoming termination letters will provide samples for when an employee is laid off or fired for cause. 

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 a termination meeting with the employee. The termination letter summarizes what was said at the meeting.

Sample Termination Letter

Ms. Catherine Smith

1845 Shorter Street

Myron, Illinois 40702

Dear Catherine,

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 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 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.

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.

Disclaimer: Please note that Susan makes every effort to offer accurate, common-sense, ethical Human Resources management, employer, and workplace advice on this website, but she is not an attorney, and the content on the site is not to be construed as legal advice. The site has a world-wide audience and employment laws and regulations vary from state to state and country to country, so the site cannot be definitive on all of them for your workplace. When in doubt, always seek legal counsel. The information on the site is provided for guidance only, never as legal advice.

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