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Letter of Termination Due to Layoff

A company layoff is an emotionally charged event, especially when employees are laid off dueto no fault of their own. Although harsh, the company should issue a letter of termination to all impacted employees.

Format and Content

Laid off employees are likely to feel targeted. It is extremely important that the wording of the letter dispel this notion. This is accomplished by listing the factors involved in the layoff decision such as economic downturn or a reduction in the company’s business. It is appropriate to state that the decision was not an easy one. It is a good idea to have the letter reviewed by a company lawyer to ensure it does not open the door to disputes based on discrimination. A form letter is okay as long as each letter is addressed to a specific individual.


In this sample letter of termination, the human resource director makes it clear that the layoff is tied directly to economic conditions. She gives the reason certain employees were selected for the layoff to prevent an employee from feeling targeted. The employee is told the severance package is dependent upon the receipt of a signed release of claims document.

Dear Mr. Ames,

We regret to inform you that Lee’s Packing Services, Inc. is forced to lay off 25% of its workforce. The decision was not an easy one and it is one we highly regret. We value every employee and feel that the only fair way to do this is to dismiss the employees with the least amount of seniority. Unfortunately, you are among the last 25% of employees hired and therefore, your employment with the company will be terminated as of September 1, 2013.

The current economic conditions have resulted in a severe lack of sales for our organization. As you know we support other businesses who are relocating to different areas. Over the last 2 years, the number of new businesses created has declined sharply and the number of businesses moving to a new location has dropped by more than 60%. While we are highly committed to our employees, we feel that the only way to sustain the business through this downturn is to cut expenses across the board.

Over the next 3weeks, you will have the opportunity to meet with employment counselors who will hold meetings within the human resource department. You will receive 4 weeks of severance pay at your normal weekly salary. Payment for any unused PTOwill be included in your final paycheck. To receive your severance you will need to sign and return the release of claims documents in your packet. You will receive a package with this letter detailing the amount of benefits you have coming as well as other helpful information.

We ask that you turn in your identification badge and any other company property on your last day of employment. Please be sure that we have your updated contact information on file. Again, we regret being forced into such a tough business decision. If you have any questions you may schedule an appointment with me by sending an email to [email]


Joanne Leiby

Ms. Joanne Leiby, HR Director

Lee’s Packing Services