An employment termination letter is a formal letter informing a worker that they are being fired, laid off, or otherwise terminated. It is usually issued from the employer to the employee; an equivalent letter issued from a worker to their employer is called a letter of resignation.

While an oral termination will sometimes suffice, employment termination letters are beneficial because they provide a record of the termination process and can be used as evidence in the event of a wrongful termination lawsuit or other legal disputes. They can also be necessary when:

  • There are many issues that need to be resolved prior to termination
  • There is an existing employment contract between the employer and the worker

An employment termination letter can sometimes serve as a contract, especially if there are various terms and conditions that need to be fulfilled prior to the actual termination.

What Are Some Common Disputes over Employment Termination Letters?

Employment termination letters often contain specific information and can address a number of different issues related to the employment and the termination procedures. Some legal conflicts over employment termination letters may involve:

  • Lack of timely notice
  • Disputes over wages, benefits, severance packages, retirement, vacation time, final paycheck, and other issues
  • Issues that involve other laws such discrimination, fraud, or coercion
  • Disputes regarding the return of borrowed company property (such as a laptop, company car, etc.)

In some cases, the dispute may revolve around a single issue, or around a few terms in the letter that need to be worked out. In other cases, the dispute may have to do with the entire termination in itself.

Are There Any Legal Remedies for Employment Termination Letter Disputes?

Disputes over employment termination can result in legal remedies such as:

  • Return of company property
  • Resolving of wage issues (sometimes through a damages award)
  • Change of employment status as necessary (for instance, reinstating an employee, or returning them to a non-employee status)

Exact remedies and legal consequences will of course vary by state law and according to each individual case. On the whole, having an employment termination letter can prevent legal issues in the long run since the terms will be in writing.

Do I Need a Lawyer for help with an Employee Termination Letter?

Employee termination letters can often include some very important information; it’s important that they are written very careful and reviewed by all parties involved. You may need to hire an employment law attorney in your area if you need help with an employee termination letter. Your attorney can help you draft, review, or edit a letter, and can also research the laws to ensure that it is in full compliance. Also, if there are any disputes or legal conflicts over the letter, your lawyer can provide representation in court.