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How to write a termination of employment letter

1-minute read

Termination of employment
Zach Hayward-Jones

Zach Hayward-Jones

27 October 2023

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If you employ people in your small business, most of the time things will go off without a hitch. In rare cases, though, things go wrong, and in these circumstances you may need a termination of employment letter.

What is a termination of employment letter?

If things go really wrong, you may need to dismiss an employee. It’s always a good idea to do that by way of a clear letter giving notice of termination of employment and setting out your reasons.

If the reason for the dismissal is that the employee is guilty of gross misconduct, you're likely to decide to terminate their dismissal without notice.

Anything less than that, even serious misconduct, and you’ll almost certainly have to give notice (or pay in lieu of notice).

It’s important to have clear documentation stating your reasons for termination in case the employee attempts to fight against their dismissal in a tribunal.

Termination of employment letter templates are usually customisable to your requirements, so you can make sure you have the correct documentation in place in the event that you need to end a contract without notice.

What constitutes gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is rare, but you should be prepared for it amongst your employees. Acts that constitute gross misconduct might include theft, gross negligence, or physical violence.

In the event of gross misconduct, you may be able to terminate a contract of employment without notice. However, it is important that you still follow a fair procedure for doing so.

You should make sure that the misconduct is investigated thoroughly and fairly, and the employee in question must be given the opportunity to respond to allegations before the act of dismissal.

What is the difference between serious and gross misconduct?

Serious misconduct or underperformance includes acts that are likely to cause damage to the business, or indeed those that have already caused damage.

In these cases, as opposed to those of gross misconduct, you may decide to move straight to a ‘first and final’ warning. If you are unsure whether the misconduct in question is serious or gross, you should seek independent legal advice – however, ultimately the decision is the nominated decision maker's, and no one else can make the decision, not even the HR adviser.

What if it’s the first instance of misconduct?

If this is the first time an employee has acted in a way that is unacceptable, and prior to the incident they have a good disciplinary record, you are likely to be able to resolve the situation without dismissal – and, indeed, you should always try to do so in the first instance. Here, an informal discussion may be all that is needed. If you’re in any doubt, you should seek legal advice.

Do you have any unanswered quesitons about creating a termination of employment letter for your business? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photograph: MIND AND I/
Zach Hayward-Jones

Written by

Zach Hayward-Jones

Zach Hayward-Jones is a Copywriter at Simply Business, with six years of writing experience across entertainment, insurance, and financial services. Zach specialises in covering small business and landlord insurance. He has a particular interest in issues impacting the hospitality industry after spending a number of years working as a pastry chef.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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