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Resignation in Lieu of Termination Letter

Employers are sometimes faced with the task of letting an employee go who has not committed a serious violation of company policy. This can happen when an employee is trying to do a good job but is not meeting company expectations. Instead of firing the employee outright, the company can choose to allow the employee to resign. This type of letter protects the employee’s work record and helps shield the organization from a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Content and Format

Present the offer in a clear and concise manner that leaves no room for misunderstanding. Inform the employee of the specific date his or her decision is expected and of the consequences for failing to respond in time or not at all. Include information related to the employee’s last paycheck, COBRA continuation coverage, and any other information the employee may need before or following employment termination in the content and format.


In this sample, the employee is informed that her employment status with the company will be terminated. Because she has served the company well in some areas, she is given the option to resign. The CEO words the letter in such a way that there is no room for ambiguity: there are only two options, resign or be fired.

Dear Linda,

Two months ago, you attended a meeting in my office for your annual employee review. During this meeting, I informed you that your work performance was not up to company standards. I told you about the company’s continuing education program that pays the tuition of employees who wish to improve their skills or to learn new skills in areas of benefit to the company. You assured me at that time that you would do everything possible to improve.You declined to take me up on the continuing education offer.

Unfortunately, your performance has not improved. Because of this, I have no option other than to end your employment with the company. At the same time, I appreciate how hard you have worked, your team spirit, and how well you get along with others. Due to these qualities, I would like to present you with the opportunity to resign from the company. By resigning, you will not have a termination on your employment record.

If you choose to resign, please submit a resignation letter to me in writing with a resignation date of March 15, 2013. If I do not receive this letter within 5 business days, I will proceed with the employment termination process. Should this happen, your last day of employment will still be March 15, 2013. Our company employment policy is at will, which means you do not have to give a reason for leaving the organization. In your resignation letter, you may simply state that you are resigning and the effective date of the resignation.

Whatever path you choose, you will receive your last paycheck on your final date of employment. This paycheck will include payment for your accrued and unused PTO days. You will be receiving a package in the mail concerning your eligibility for COBRA coverage. Please return all company property in your possession on or before your last day of employment. An HR representative will be in contact with you to discuss possible benefits as well as your options regarding your company retirement plan.

I look forward to hearing from you soon. I sincerely hope you take me up on the resignation offer. Regardless, I wish you all the best going forward.


Albert Swan

Mr. Albert Swan, CEO

Galaxy Enterprises