Layoff Letter Template

Poorly written layoff letters can open up your organization to legal action

 
No matter how they are written there is always the danger of angering an employee, don't give them legal ammunition by writing misleading, inaccurate or insensitive layoff letters.

Composing a letter with the right tone and terminology will ease tension and lawsuit risks. Use a straightforward reason and/or explanation while conveying a respectful tone. Your letter should be regarded as a legal document. Consider the 4 points below when drafting your layoff letter, and use our free Layoff Letter Template as a guide.

To avoid legal action, think of layoff letters as informal legal documents that include the following:

  • Give reason for the layoff, explain without providing too much detail. 
  • Give criteria for selecting which positions were eliminated. Explain the company policy, collective bargaining rules or other criteria for the layoffs.
  • Set the tone. Don't use corporate terminology and wording that comes across as impersonal and condescending. Show empathy without superfluous sugarcoating. Example: “We appreciate the work you’ve done.”
  • Explanation of Benefits. Your letter should explain severance packages, continuation of benefits and procedures for handling final pay. 

    *Consider having an attorney review your layoff letters before delivering them to employees. 

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