Give your Managers the Help They Need for the Different Stages of Performance

This Guide will take the guessing out of Probation, Performance, Improvement & Termination

Involuntary Termination Letter Options & Release Form

A document that provides 6 different involuntary termination (firing) letter options between the company and the employee as well as a Release form that together outline the contractual agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of termination. 

A document that provides 7 different examples and options for an involuntary termination (firing) letter as well as 2 recall notices, a termination letter for after the layoff period, and a Release form template that together outline the contractual agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of termination.

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Involuntarily terminating an employee’s employment is never easy. But involuntary terminations must also follow a legal protocol, or they can be further complicated by not having the proper formal documentation in place or obtaining required signatures.

Involuntary terminations of office staff can only be conducted with HR’s input and must be accompanied by formal written communication to the affected employee.

Also refer to the Process Guide for Managers – Involuntary Terminations.

Types of Employee Termination Letters

There are 7 types of involuntary termination or firing letters included in the document:

  1. Paid Notice for Termination Without Cause or Permanent Lay-Off

A letter template used to fire an employee when conducting an immediate termination where a signed release needs to be obtained

  1. Working & Paid Notice for Termination Without Cause or Permanent Lay-Off

An involuntary termination letter template used when the Company wants the employee to work during a portion of the notice period and be provided with an incentive to remain with the Company until the end of the working notice. May also be used for working notice only with minor adjustments to the letter.

This termination letter template example is used when a group of employees are being let go.

Working notice is not recommended for most individual involuntary terminations but may be feasible given the manner in which this termination letter example is written that combines both working and paid notice.

  1. Termination with Cause with No Severance

A letter template used to fire an employee when the Company can defend the position that there was just cause for immediate termination of an employee. I.e.:

  • The employee exhibited gross misconduct or insubordination
  • Breach of a fundamental clause in employment contract or employee handbook
  • Detailed solid written documentation providing the employee with warnings about poor performance is available
  • After a failed formal performance improvement plan.  
  1. Termination with Cause with Severance (Consideration)

This involuntary termination letter template is used in the same circumstances as (3) above, but where the company wants to obtain a release from the employee in exchange for some consideration to manage risk.

  1. Temporary Lay-Off

A letter template used to fire an employee when an employee is terminated due to poor business performance but is expected to be recalled back to work.

  1. Failure to Successfully Complete Probationary Period

This involuntary termination letter template is used when an employee’s probationary period was not successfully completed, and the company does not anticipate improved performance by the employee. 

Note that the no-notice provision during the probationary period must be included in the employment contract and signed prior to the employee’s first day of work.

  1. Demotion

Used to offer an employee a new position of lesser value than their current position after a working notice period.



After the Lay-Off

There are 2 types of recall notices and a Termination after Lay-Off letter included in the document:

  1. Recall Notice after Temporary Lay-Off

A letter template used to recall employees that are on lay-off. 

         2. Final Recall Notice - no Response

A letter template used when the employee on lay-off doesn't respond to the first recall notice sent.  

        3.  COVID-19 Termination after Lay-Off (No Severance)

An example termination letter in the case where employment standards has included a clause in the statute that allows for termination to occur after the maximum lay off period has expired - without having to pay proper common law notice (severance), due a business closure or staffing reduction that is directly related to COVID-19 and there is no way for employees to perform work in a different way (for example, working from home), AND you’re comfortable that the exemption applies to you.

The Termination Release Form Template

The document also includes a Termination Release Form Template that is used to create a clean break between your company and the employee. The signed Termination Release Form is a legal agreement that protects both parties from the risk of future legal action.

Your company will ask a fired employee to sign a release related to all potential outstanding claims that they may have against your company.  The employee isn't obliged to sign such a Termination Release and your company may want to provide the employee with additional consideration that exceeds the minimum notice periods required by law to entice the employee to sign the Termination Release. 

The employee decides whether or not to sign the Termination Release and accept the separation package which may include enticements over and above notice in the form of compensation, such as extension of benefits, retention of a laptop or cell phone, or whether to contest the adequacy of the separation package. 

The employee is provided with enough time to make this decision and is encouraged to seek legal advice prior to signing the Termination Release Form. 

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List of Options for Involuntary Termination Letter Templates & Release Form

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Contracts & Agreement Templates in this Kit

The template referenced on this page can be used on its own as a stand-alone tool, or in conjunction with other HR templates in the Contracts & Agreement Kit that includes the following documents:

Template Description

Offer Form Template

This form template ensures that all information about a candidate and position is collected and summarized, so that HR has the information they need to process an employment or independent contractor agreement.

Employment Contract Agreement Template

A contractual agreement template between the company and the employee that establishes the terms and conditions of employment.

Independent Contractor Agreement Template

This agreement template is intended to be used to clearly articulate and establish the terms and conditions of a contract between your company and an independent contractor.

Overtime Averaging Agreement Template

A contractual agreement between an employee and your company allows you to bypass overtime rates by averaging the employee’s hours of work over a period of 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks. 

Employee Handbook Acknowledgment Agreement Template

This is a contract agreement that is signed by Staff, in the presence of a witness, to acknowledge that they've read, understood, and will adhere to the Staff Policies section in your Employee Handbook.

Front Desk Service Agreement Template

An agreement used to obtain signed confirmation from front line and reception staff to acknowledge their understanding of company protocols and expected service levels. 

Involuntary Termination Authorization Form Template

This document is a template spreadsheet that will help your company calculate the costs associated with terminating an employee, and to obtain authorization to terminate. 

Involuntary Termination Letter Options & Release Form

A document that provides 6 different involuntary termination (firing) letter options between the company and the employee as well as a Release form that together outline the contractual agreement that establishes the terms and conditions of termination. 
Non-Disclosure Agreement for Exploratory Discussions Template This template agreement is intended to be used to protect the interests of your company in situations where company-confidential information may be shared during exploratory discussions with prospective candidates.
Reference Check Request & Consent Template This document is a template for an email script used to obtain reference provider names and written consent from candidates to conduct reference checks.
Training Reimbursement Agreement Template A template for a contractual Agreement between your company and an employee embarking on a training initiative that exceeds a company-determined cost ceiling, where your company is expecting the training expenses to be reimbursed by the employee in certain scenarios.
Delegate Confidentiality Agreement Template This document contains instructions and a script for a conduct agreement between a manager and administrative-level staff. The script can be used when a manager needs to delegate work that may require access to sensitive or confidential information.
Hybrid and Remote Work Policy & Agreement Template A template for a contractual Agreement that is used to set expectations and guidelines for remote employees who work outside the company office to create a mutually beneficial situation for both the company and the teleworker. 

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Performance Management Overview Guide

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How is the Performance Management Overview Guide  used?

This template is used to provide a reference for managers on how employee performance is managed in your company and to set expectations for the accountability of managers to follow the approach and processes it outlines.

Which HR kit is it included in?

The Performance Management Overview Guide can be used on its own as a stand-alone tool, or as part of the Involuntary Termination Kit for Managers, which is one of 4 ConnectsUs Recruiting & Hiring Kits.


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