Termination Checklist and Form

The decision to dismiss an employee, for whatever reason, can frequently be a difficult and uncomfortable one. There is always some risks-for example; the employee could sue you for unlawful discharge. Generally speaking, you can significantly reduce this risk if you can show that you fired an employee for proper business reasons and that you acted in good faith during the termination process.

The attached file contains two documents designed to ease the task of terminating an employee and help manage some of the risks. The first is a termination meeting script, which will help you say and do the "right" things at the termination meeting. The second is an exit interview form. By presenting the departing employee with this opportunity to comment, you not only give yourself a good chance of gaining valuable information but also make the process less painful for the employee and possibly less risky for you.
Termination Meeting Checklist

Conduct the meeting in sequence as follows:

1.  Tell the employee the purpose of the meeting.  Although the reason for termination should be communicated, there is no need to go through a step-by-step analysis of the documentation supporting the reason for discharge.

2.  Advise that the decision is final and cannot be reversed.

3.  Where appropriate, advise that alternative in-house positions were explored.

4.  Emphasize that all relevant factors were reviewed.

5.  If applicable, stress that everyone involved in management activities agreed to the decision.

6.  Tell the employee the effective date of the termination.

7.  Review with the employee a written summary of benefits.  This summary should include, where applicable, severance pay, compensation for vacation and sick time, continuation of health and life insurance benefits, other benefits and re-employment assistance.

8.  Have final paychecks ready.  If the employee is to leave immediately, have any final checks, benefits or vacation payments prepared and inform the employee how to collect his or her personal belongings and leave the premises.

9.  Other options: Provide the employee with a written summary of projects to be transferred to ensure a smooth transition of work if the employee will remain as an active employee for a period of time. Outline the next steps in the termination process, such as the last day of work, return of company ID, keys and credit cards.

10.  End the interview by saying that the employee will be notified of any other matters that must be dealt with, such as COBRA continued health coverage.

11.  Wish the employee good luck and express confidence in his or her future.

12.  Stand, extend your hand and remain standing until the employee has left the meeting site.

For more information on this subject, give us a call at 925-672-4800 and we will gladly do our best to answer your questions. You can also visit our website at for more information. 

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