To successfully appeal a termination from employment, an employee must follow all administrative processes. Regardless of the reason for the termination -- even if it is illegal -- an employee typically cannot file a formal complaint or lawsuit until administrative remedies have been exhausted. The types of administrative remedies available often include writing a letter to the chief executive officer or board of directors -- or to appeal the decision through a written grievance letter. Since there is often only one opportunity to appeal, employees must include all relevant information in the letter.
Review company policies and your union contract, if applicable, to determine the relevant appeal processes and time frames. Determine whom your appeal letter must be addressed to and any specific details it should include, such as your employee number or bargaining unit. If you can't find details on the process or you need clarification, contact the company's human resources department, ideally by e-mail so that you have proof of your attempt to contact them.
Include formal business salutations -- such as "Dear Sir" -- to begin the letter. Type the date and your address at the top of the letter, and format the letter in a traditional business style on professional business stationary.
Clearly state the purpose for your letter in the first few sentences -- "I am appealing the decision to terminate my employment" -- and what you are requesting: "I am seeking immediate reinstatement to my position." State the date you were terminated and emphasise that you are writing the letter within the time limits afforded you by policy.
Include a description of the reasons you think the termination was flawed, unjustified or illegal, and provide evidence to support your assertion. For example: "I have never been subject to discipline and until Mr. New Supervisor was appointed; I consistently received above-average performance evaluations. In the four months since Mr. Supervisor took over the unit, I have been subject to discriminatory comments and disparate treatment."
Request that your situation be reviewed by an impartial member of management and offer to work collaboratively with anyone assigned to the issue to provide any information that may be needed.
Close your letter by thanking the individual for his consideration of your request.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: Employee/Management Relations
- Workplace Fairness: Sample Letters of Appeal for the Recently Terminated Employee
- University of North Carolina: Terminated University Employee's Failure to Go All the Way Through the Grievance Procedure Is Not Excused by the Manner in Which Her Predismissal Conference and Notice of Appeal Rights Were Handled
- Include the name and contact information of your attorney or union representative in the letter and specify that all correspondence from the company should be copied to your representative as well.
- Don't become defensive, insulting or argumentative, because this will hurt your case. Ask a neutral friend to read over the letter and assess the tone. Avoid making accusations or personal attacks in the letter and remain professional at all times.