In most cases, the termination should be communicated in a meeting with the employee at which they are advised of the termination and the reasons for it, and are provided with a termination letter.

Where the termination is for disciplinary reasons or for cause, ensure that the investigation is complete and that you have given the employee an opportunity to respond to the concerns or allegations before finalizing your decision.


Make sure you have a private room set aside.

Make sure there is Kleenex in the room.

Ensure that all documentation is complete before the meeting.

The meeting should be held late in the day or first thing in the morning, if possible, early in the employee’s work week.

Be clear on what you will say and practice – keep it short and to the point.


If possible, try to have a second person (managerial) in the meeting to witness the termination.

Tell the employee clearly that her or his employment has been terminated and the date when the termination is effective.

Be clear and brief on the reason for the termination (e.g. poor performance, job elimination, disciplinary reasons, absenteeism, etc.).

Do not provide a long-winded explanation; clearly communicate that the decision has been made and that it is final. Do not get involved in a debate about the decision.

Hand the employee the signed letter of termination. This should spell out:

  • the reason for and the effective date of the termination (as communicated verbally);

  • any payments in lieu of notice and/or severance pay that are being offered;

  • the date on which benefits coverage will cease, if applicable; and

  • that any unpaid wages, vacation pay, etc. will be paid out.

  • Bring the meeting to a close in the appropriate manner depending on circumstances (e.g. thank the employee for service rendered and wish her or him luck; invite employee back to work area to pack-up belongings; request return of any property and/or ID, etc.).

  • If the staff member will be leaving immediately, ensure there are boxes available for packing personal items.

  • Under some circumstances it may be preferable to ask the employee to leave immediately and return after hours (later in the day/later that week) to clear out her or his desk without disrupting the company/business. This after-hours move should always be supervised.

  • Communicate termination to relevant co-workers. Craft communication to suit the circumstances and be professional.


There are certain administrative steps to take as part of the termination of an employee.  As much as possible, these steps should be undertaken or prepared prior to the termination. This may not be an exhaustive list, depending on your specific circumstances at the time:

Employer Property

  • Office keys/pass collected                                          Yes    No  N/A

  • Cell/Smart phone received                                         Yes    No  N/A

  • Employment manual/handbook                                  Yes    No  N/A

  • Client lists received                                                    Yes    No  N/A

  • Corporate credit card received                                   Yes    No  N/A

  • Company laptop/computer returned                            Yes    No  N/A

  • Parking pass/tags received                                         Yes    No  N/A

Access Cancellation:

  • Disconnect computer access (e-mail, networks, cell and data).

  • Employee’s voicemail removed.

  • Building alarm code changed, if necessary.

  • Change any computer access codes or passwords, if necessary.

  • Email address removed from staff list.

  • Name removed from time entry system (if applicable).

  • Make any needed banking information/authorization changes if needed.

Administrative Issues:

  • Desk cleared, available for replacement.

  • Name removed from staff phone listing.

  • Name removed from mail slot.

  • Update website/internal directories/phone directories.

  • Do any clients/third parties require notification?

  • Automatic email notification to alert senders and redirect emails (voice-mail as well).

  • Create back-up of computer files and e-mail.  

Benefits (if applicable):

  • Have insurance providers been notified?

  • Will insurance coverage continue? For how long?

  • When will retirement contributions (if any) be stopped?

Final Pay:

  • Final hours calculated.

  • Final paycheck prepared.

  • Ensure any outstanding vacation pay/lieu time is calculated and included in final pay.

  • Arrange for preparation and issuance of ROE.

This is a summary only, intended to be for your general information only.

We strongly recommend that you contact us, or other qualified employment law counsel, for specific advice that may apply to, or be helpful for, any:

  • termination of any employee, with or without cause;

  • suspension of any employee, with or without pay; 

  • workplace harassment/sexual harassment complaint; and 

  • workplace investigation of any kind,

before you initiate or take any steps, including to avoid a potentially costly misstep. 


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