How to write a dismissal letter


If you reach the end of a disciplinary process and make a decision to dismiss an employee, the dismissed employee can request a written statement setting out the reasons for the dismissal.

So if the employee requests this statement, you must provide it within 14 days.

It’s a good idea to prepare a dismissal letter template since Ireland’s unfair dismissals laws require you to issue written dismissal notifications.  

Preparing a draft dismissal letter is useful to ensure you comply with this aspect of the unfair dismissal laws and the relevant time limit.

Preparing a written statement

You can use the following template to respond to an employee who requests a written statement of the reasons for their dismissal.

*Start of template*

Private and Confidential

[Insert name]

[Insert address]

[Insert date]

Dear [insert name],

Re: Your dismissal

Further to your letter received on [insert date] where you requested a written statement of the reasons for the dismissal, I am writing to confirm the reasons for your dismissal.

  1. Set out full details of the reasons for dismissal including dates, meetings, warnings etc.
  2. Set out details of action taken under the Company’s disciplinary procedure.
  3. Following careful consideration of your response to the disciplinary action, the Company decided that your response was inadequate and you were dismissed under the Company’s disciplinary procedure for [details of disciplinary breach (persistent unexplained absences for example)].
  4. You were entitled to [insert number] weeks’ notice and the dismissal took effect from [insert date].
  5. You were offered the right to appeal this decision and you did not exercise this right.

 Yours sincerely,

 [Insert name]

[Insert job title]

*End of template*

What’s in a dismissal letter?

In this guide we’ll explain how to write a dismissal letter and the key information that you need to include.

The law requires you to issue a written statement to the employee setting out the reasons for their particular dismissal.

One example of a dismissal letter you might need to write would be the confirmation of a dismissal related to the employee’s capability. The following sample could provide the framework of such a letter.

*Start of template*

Private and Confidential

[Insert name]

[Insert address]

[Insert date]

Dear [insert name],

Following the formal hearing held on [insert date], I am writing to inform you of my decision.

The matters discussed at the hearing related to your capability: [insert details of capability issues].

You provided the following reasons for your substandard performance: [insert details of employee’s explanation].

Having considered the evidence and your explanation, I find it unsatisfactory because [insert reasons employee’s capability is not satisfactory and efforts made to help employee improve their performance].

You have been issued with a final written warning issued on [insert date] and your performance has not reached an acceptable standard since that date and there is no evidence to suggest it will do so within a reasonable period of time.

We have explored whether there are any other suitable alternative roles that you could perform, but unfortunately, none are available.

Regretfully, we have taken the decision to terminate your employment for the reasons stated above.

This dismissal takes effect immediately and you will be paid [insert number] weeks’ pay in lieu of notice.

You will also be entitled to receive payment for [insert number] days of accrued holiday pay. The Revenue Commissioners will be notified of your final termination payment.  

 You have the right of appeal against my decision and, should you wish to do so, you should write to [insert name and job title] within [insert number] days giving full reasons for your appeal.

It is unfortunate that this role was unsuitable and no viable alternatives existed within our organisation.

We wish you all the best for the future.

Yours sincerely,

[Insert name]

[Insert job title]

*End of template*

A dismissal may be necessary for different reasons. Under unfair dismissals legislation, a dismissal will not be unfair if it arises from any of the following:

  • The employee’s capability, competence or qualifications for the job s/he was employed to do.
  • The employee’s conduct.
  • The employee would be breaching another law by remaining in employment.

How to write a dismissal letter therefore depends on the reason for the employee’s dismissal.

Conduct-related dismissals

Dismissals related to misconduct tend to be the most difficult ones for employers to complete in accordance with the law.

Only issue a dismissal letter in Ireland following a dismissal that has been concluded using fair procedures into the allegations against the employee.

It is also necessary to distinguish between misconduct and gross misconduct.

Broadly speaking in less serious cases of misconduct, disciplinary action will escalate as follows:

  • An oral warning.
  • A written warning.
  • A final written warning.
  • Suspension without pay.
  • Transfer to another task, or section of the organisation.
  • Some other appropriate disciplinary action short of dismissal.

When a misconduct case results in the dismissal of the employee, include key information in a dismissal notice letter is:

  • The reasons for the dismissal.
  • The appeal procedure.
  • Who the appeal should be addressed to.
  • Any time limits attaching to the appeal.

Gross misconduct

Dismissals for gross misconduct like theft, assault, fraud and violence can lead to summary dismissal.

A summary dismissal is a dismissal without notice that does not work through the escalating disciplinary process that applies to ordinary misconduct cases.

In a situation of alleged gross misconduct, you still need to comply with fair procedures. This means it is not a simple case of issuing an instant dismissal letter. 

A summary dismissal letter should include details of the investigation and hearing into the allegation against the employee and include the following information:

  • That an investigation into an allegation of gross misconduct against the employee is taking place.
  • Details of their suspension pending the investigation (if suspension is necessary).
  • Details of a meeting to be attended by the employee and their manager.
  • Notification that the employee has the right to be accompanied at that meeting by a trade union representative or a colleague.

Once the investigation and meeting have concluded (and there's justification for a dismissal), you can use the following summary dismissal letter sample.

It's an outline of the written statement setting out the reasons for dismissal. Provide this to your employee.

*Start of template*

Private and Confidential

[Insert name]

[Insert address]

[Insert date]

Dear [insert name],

Further to the disciplinary hearing held on [insert date] [where you were represented by [insert name], I am writing to inform you of the decision.

The hearing reviewed your conduct following [insert details of alleged gross misconduct].

At the hearing you received copies of all the evidence and the results of the following investigations into the incident: [insert details of the investigations].

[Insert any defence submitted by the employee]

At the hearing, you were informed that your conduct was deemed to be gross misconduct and the appropriate sanction was summary dismissal.

Following a full investigation, and consideration of your defence/explanation, your conduct was  unsatisfactory because: [insert details]

On careful consideration of the circumstances and your response, I have decided to summarily dismiss you from your employment for gross misconduct for the following reasons: [insert reasons]. I have complied with the steps in the Company’s standard disciplinary procedure before reaching this decision.

You are therefore dismissed with immediate effect from [insert date]. You are not entitled to notice or to pay in lieu of notice.

You have the right to appeal against my decision. If you intend to appeal, you should write to [insert name and job title] within [insert number] days of the date of this letter stating the reasons you do not accept the disciplinary action taken against you. 

If you exercise your right to appeal, the dismissal will remain effective until the outcome of the appeal is finalised.

Yours sincerely,

[Insert name]

[Insert job title]

*End of template*

Dismissal during probation

If an employee has not met your required levels of performance, you make decide to terminate the contract of employment at this stage.

The notice you must provide the employee will depend on the terms of the contract of employment. Many employers will have a shorter notice period during the probation period, typically one week's notice.

A dismissal during probationary period letter will confirm the employee hasn’t successfully completed their probation period and that their employment is being ended in accordance with the terms of the employment contract.

Need more information?

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