How to write a termination letter

Updated February 21, 2017

There may come a time in your professional career where you may have the unpleasant job of writing a letter of termination for another employee. Whether it be due to cutbacks, poor performance or some other reason, writing these letters can be difficult when dealing with what to include. If you have to fire someone at your work, learn how to write a professional termination letter.

Address the letter professionally. Don't open with a relaxed greeting or terms like "hello," "how are you," and "what's up." This letter is strictly business, so opening with anything but the necessary information is uncalled for.

Start off with a paragraph about the employee's time with the company, such as how long he has been there and his current job responsibilities. You can use this time to possibly soften the blow by saying something like, "We have enjoyed having you here during your time at the company."

Write the second paragraph letting the employee know they are being let go. You can add some sort of sad sentiment, but not too much. Stick with a phrase like, "We regret to inform you..." You can also open up with a "due to"-type phrase and list any actions they have taken that caused their termination.

Include in the second paragraph---or make a third one---the reasons the employee is being terminated. Be very clear and don't leave anything out, should a lawsuit or challenge arise in the future. While you may want to try and be polite, you need to worry more about sounding firm as to your reasons.

Make your next paragraph about the employee's future. You can wish them well, and also include protocol for using you for a reference or what information you can and will share with the employee's future employment prospects. You may also include whether they can use you as a reference and when their termination will take effect.

Conclude the article with a short well-wishing phrase, like "best regards" or "best wishes for future endeavours." This may help you avoid having a harsh or antagonistic tone in your letter. Your employee will already be upset by the termination, so you want to avoid using an abrasive tone that may cause further upset.


Always type out a termination letter and print it on clean white paper, this will ensure it is professional looking. You may want to include with your letter any documents of the past grievances that led up to the termination of your employee.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with a word program
  • Printer
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About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.