Example Letter #1
As you and I have already discussed, your receipt of this letter represents your official dismissal as an employee of Doe Pharmaceutics, effective today. A company such as ours has an obligation to adhere to the most exacting standards of scientific integrity. Since you have demonstrated a willingness to compromise these standards, we cannot in good faith accede to your continued employment with us.
Realizing the delicate nature of this situation, I nevertheless need to inform you that Doe will maintain a confidential file detailing the events that have led to your dismissal. This file documents your manipulation of research findings with the aim of a personal shortcut to advancement within the company. While we will not attempt to hinder your future career in any way, protection of Doe's legal interests and sound reputation requires us to preserve an internal record of all your actions relative to project no. 5555.
It is also appropriate for me to inform you that we cannot recommend you to potential future employers upon their inquiry. For this reason we ask you not to present our company's name or the names of company personnel as references. Please contact my secretary for further information concerning your severance.
In spite of your unfortunate false start here at Doe--and because we recognize your very real talent--we genuinely hope you find a bright new beginning for your career.
Example Letter #2
During your five months of employment with the Doe Corporation, your supervisor has evaluated your performance three times. After each evaluation, she informed you that your performance was not meeting the standard necessary if you were to continue in your position. Unfortunately, your performance has not improved. After serious consideration, we have decided to ask for your resignation effective immediately. According to company policy, you will receive two months' severance pay and the opportunity to continue certain benefits, as outlined in the attached summary.
Decisions like this are never easy, but in light of your poor performance, we see no alternative. Despite this action, we feel you have significant potential and hope you will find work more compatible with that potential.
Example Letter #3
Due to your unfortunate habit of stealing tools and materials from jobsites, I am firing you, effective immediately. Although we are not taking legal action, you must understand that we have on file the testimonies of several witnesses to your petty thefts, and all have indicated they would be pleased to testify against you in court should the occasion arise. You will receive no severance pay, and I cannot in good faith recommend you to another employer. However, as I respect your level of craftsmanship and your love of hard work, I give you my best wishes. May you join honest people in honest work.
Example Letter #4
As you know, our sales force depends on effective teamwork. Although your sales figures continue to be in the acceptable range, we have documented countless complaints regarding your failure to work as part of a team. After several discussions with you and your division, we have found no improvement in your attitude or actions and find it necessary to release you from our employ.
We feel you may be better suited to some other type of employment. Please make an appointment with Jane Doe to discuss your severance package. You have many talents, and I have no doubt you will soon find other opportunities.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
Review the situation, possibly including the reasons for termination.
Clearly state your decision to terminate the reader's employment. Avoid appearing hostile or overly apologetic.
Add any necessary explanations not included at the beginning of your letter. Avoid making unnecessary statements simply to protect the employee's feelings.
If appropriate, include any relevant information regarding severance pay, insurance, or company policies regarding letters of reference, etc.
Close on an encouraging note.