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Sample Employee Termination Letters Due to Poor Performance

A termination letter is a notification letter of the formal variety, written from company management/ business owner and directed to a poorly performing employee informing them of the impending immediate termination of their employment contract.

Every institution’s employment opportunities are usually goal-oriented, with employees required to commit to specific business objectives to ensure improved productivity/service delivery. Nevertheless, employees with no desire to seriously commit to their work often slip through the hiring process. Some employees may also lose the work drive they have previously had due to a number of reasons. Eventually, these employees often fail to live up to the company’s expectations due to their poor performance, and therefore, a replacement is usually required.

However, before a replacement, the poor performing employee should often be given a formal termination letter.

These letters are often quite vital in several aspects and, therefore, often require perfect crafting. For instance, since an employee’s firing is usually a difficult and uncomfortable experience, these termination letters will ease the process while also making it humane. Furthermore, these letters may often be used in courts if disgruntled employees decide to file a lawsuit against the employer.

How to Format a Termination Letter for Poor Performance

Since these are usually formal letters, writing them often requires adherence to the general official formal letter formats with a slight variation in the letter’s content and purpose. Therefore, below is a structured guideline for the proper formatting of a termination letter.

Header/Company or Employer’s address

This is usually the starting point in these letters. They usually include information such as company logo, company/employer’s physical address, their contact information such as a telephone number and email, among others. This provides the recipient of the letter with an idea of from whom the letter originated.


This is the second part of the structuring of these letters. It usually depicts the date the letter is written. This will benefit the employer by providing a platform for accurate record-keeping while also indicating to the recipient the remaining time they have to sort out their affairs before termination.

Recipient’s data

This is the next part in the format, and it entails the recipient’s full names, address, contact information, and possibly the rank in the company, although optional. These should also be very accurate and up to date to ensure that the letter is directed to the intended target to prevent any future grounds for dismissal.


Salutation usually follows the recipient’s address and is often quite vital as it shows that the sender is polite and respectful despite the unfortunate circumstances warranting the letter of termination. It usually starts with ‘Dear,’ followed by several notations like Mr. /Mrs. /Ms. and terminated by the recipient’s last name.


This is next in the structuring and constitutes a chunk of the letter. This segment is quite essential and, thus, should be appropriately written. The body of the letter should therefore incorporate information such as;

  • The date the termination will be effected
  • The reasons for termination
  • Possible previous attempts at improving employee performance
  • Verbal and written warnings given
  • A list of company items to be handed in before exiting if any
  • Details about their compensation, final paycheck, and any other benefits, if any, are associated.
  • You may also provide any other information relevant to the company and the employee concerning their termination due to poor performance.

Finally, the body of your letter should also have an appropriate conclusion, apologizing or sympathizing with the employee’s situation and maybe wishing them well in their future endeavors.

Complementary clause

This usually follows the body as a part of the formal letter format. It should be included in these termination letters. It often constitutes words such as “Yours faithfully.” Cordially”, “Sincerely yours,” “Sincerely,” among others.

Sign off

This is the final segment of the format. It incorporates the sender’s personal contact information and a signature. These are for future contacting purposes in case the recipient has further questions and the signature for authentication and legality.

Always remember that each segment and paragraph in the body should be written after skipping a line.

Termination Letter Examples

Following are free customizable termination letter templates and examples:

Probationary Job Dismissal Letter Sample

Job Termination Letter for Poor Work Performance

Termination Letter Format Due to Poor Performance

Employee Termination Letter due to Poor Performance Sample

Sample Dismissal Letter for an Employee's Poor Performance

    Tips to Adhere to for a Perfect Letter

    These tips are vital as they constitute a great chunk of simple mistakes and omissions often made by even recurrent writers. Therefore, you should always make sure to remember and apply them appropriately.

    • Before writing a termination letter for poor performance, you should always check with the human resource department and ensure that you have sufficient evidence to warrant the termination to prevent unsubstantiated reasons for termination.
    • You should also let your legal council take a look at the termination letter to ensure that the letter’s contents cannot be used against you in the unfortunate case of a lawsuit.
    • The letters being of the formal variety, they should follow the proper formal format of writing.
    • The letter’s body should be brief, precise, and to the point, with all the necessary details included for the recipient’s quick understanding.
    • The letter should also be written in a timely fashion and delivered before the exact termination day to give the employee and the employer to sort out some of the property owners and return issues and any other issue that may warrant further intervention.

    Final Words

    Whether you are writing a termination letter for the first time or thousandth time, these letters usually need to be perfect. To ensure this, there is often some vital information that must be included in the letter. Similarly, you should also make sure to avoid certain minimal mistakes commonly made while writing these letters. Therefore, below are some guidelines on proper ways of writing a termination letter due to poor performance.

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