How to write a letter of dismissal

A letter of dismissal (also commonly referred to as a dismissal letter, letter of termination or termination letter) is a letter that spells out the legal and official separation between employer and employee. It also outlines the circumstances under which the termination is occurring and why the termination is being brought by the employer. Such a letter identifies the employee, the issues between employer and employee and the effective date of the dismissal.

Using company letterhead (preferably one containing the corporate address), print the name of the employee's immediate supervisor and/or manager and the human resources manager or personnel manager.

Print the employee's full name, department title and position title. Include a succinct summary of actions taken prior to termination as well as the employee's disposition regarding the termination. Compliance or non-compliance of company policies and procedures should be noted here. Also include the company's attempts to rectify the issue or issues. This should briefly list any letters of reprimand or disciplinary action taken before dismissal.

Restate the reason for dismissal along with the employee's severance award, if any, and date of termination (if it is that day, print "effective immediately"). In addition, state the company's policy on references for future employers.

Include a date and signature line for the employee and the human resources manager or personnel manager; each party should sign the document after explanation and review.


Give the employee both verbal and written warnings regarding the possibility of termination if the issue or issues are not resolved.


Employees cannot be dismissed on the basis of gender, race, religion or other protected statuses under federal law

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Things Needed

  • Letter(s) of reprimand

About the Author

Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.

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