Dismissal Letter : Types and Format

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An employee goes through various phases of work, and unfortunately, dismissal is a possibility.

But firing someone isn’t that easy. You don’t just cut them off and pronounce their sentence of dismissal. You can’t fire them just like that no matter what the gravity of the offense is. What you can and should do is let them know the cause or the reason behind the mishap-to-be by writing them a dismissal letter.

Definition of a Dismissal Letter:

Generally speaking, the dismissal letter is a letter issued for an employee to terminate them from their service. This can be owing to their misconduct, poor performance or any other negative behavior.

Types of Dismissal Letters:

There are different kinds of dismissal letter. For example:

  1. Dismissal letter for employees without unfair dismissal rights
  2. Dismissal letter for employee’s poor performance
  3. Dismissal for redundancy
  4. Dismissal for reasons beyond the employee’s control
  5. Dismissal for misconduct, etc.

Format of a Dismissal Letter:

The dismissal letter is usually written by the senior managers. It describes the situation and contains all the relevant details such as important dates, settlements and most importantly doesn’t humiliate the employee while stating what is true.

Here are the steps you should follow:

Before writing:

  1. First, review the situation properly and look into the history of an employee. Is the worth dismissing? Or does he deserve to defend himself? Or have a verbal warning only for that time?
  2. Find out all possible, solid reasons for the dismissal.
  3. Arrange for compensations if applicable.
  4. For positive cases, find something encouraging or healthy to write in the letter such that it makes the reader feel less bad for losing the job.
  5. Stay away from using accusatory tones and pointing fingers. You never know how the situation may change and get his dismissal canceled, also bringing your over-analyzation to the light.

During writing:

  1. Provide name and contact details of the sender and the recipient with their respective posts, departments and contact details. Use a company letterhead if available. Add the date and the subject line.
  2. In the first paragraph, be specific while stating the reason of writing followed by the reason behind the dismissal. Mention the reason in detail so that it can maintain records for the future. State details of the company policy or any other relevant information to clear as to why you are bound and/or rightful in taking the steps.
  3. In the next paragraph, ask for returning documents and files and other official things that were granted during his employment.
  4. Tell them to report or the time when the letter will be effective and close the body.
  5. Don’t forget to sign manually or digitally such a letter before giving it out.

After writing:


Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Dismissal Letter:


  1. Get an understanding of the details related to the performance of an employee in order to make the termination decision. No rushing.
  2. Safeguard the dignity of the employee while stating the reason.
  3. Set up a meeting before writing the letter.
  4. Get to the point in the first one/two lines of the letter
  5. The employee should be treated as any other before he receives the letter.
  6. All possible questions of the employee should be answered regarding the matter.
  7. It is better to handover the dismissal letter during a face to face meeting.
  8. Go through the employment contract before drafting.
  9. End with goodwill if possible.


  1. Don’t sign and hand over a dismissal on the spot.
  2. Don’t give the message of dismissal over the phone or informally.
  3. Don’t lie while explaining the reason(s) or give false hope because it might get you into trouble later.
  4. Don’t fire someone for something really natural, like taking maternity leave.
  5. Don’t dismiss any person directly. Give them one or two warnings if the situation allows.
  6.  Don’t fire an employee out of excitement.

Dismissing an employee is not a solution most of the times; so, you must rethink several times before writing a dismissal letter. It must contain the right information, or it may harm the company’s ability to defend an unfair dismissal claim. It should not be watched as the outcome of a particular process. This is the only opportunity to demonstrate how fair you were. So, write it well.

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