101 Sample Write-Ups for Documenting Employee Performance Problems: A Guide to Progressive Discipline & Termination

By Paul Falcone | Go to book overview

#85 Discharge for Cause: Substandard Performance1

December 15, 2010

Rick Ricardo
206 East 81st Street, Apt. #2
New York, NY 10028

Dear Mr. Ricardo:

This is to inform you that you are being terminated immediately for failure to perform
your work at an acceptable level. On August 7, 2010, you received a Verbal Correction
for substandard work performance and an unwillingness to perform properly assigned
work duties. On October 4, 2010, you received a written correction for substandard
work performance, glass breakage, and insubordination. On November 2, 2010, you
received a final written warning for substandard work performance, insubordination,
and threatening your supervisor.

In this period of time, you were sent to outside training on dealing with conflict in the
workplace. You were also placed on a paid, one-day decision-making leave to rethink
your commitment to this institution.2

However, today you committed a serious error in the handling of your cage wash
duties. Namely, you failed to place the rabbit rack in the rack washer after spraying it
down with acid. Because you did not notify your coworkers about this exception to
standard operating procedures, a fellow worker handled the acid-covered rack and
was subsequently injured.3

Your failure to properly process equipment demonstrates an ongoing inability to
perform at an acceptable level and a lack of concern for your job. I consequently have
no choice but to immediately sever this employment relationship.

Your final paycheck through the close of business today is attached. Within 30 days, we
will issue you a statement of accrued benefits. You may choose to continue your medical
insurance coverage at your own expense. Please contact Karen Johannsen in the Benefits
department at your earliest convenience. She will explain the status of your benefits and
COBRA options and also arrange for the return of any company property.

Sincerely,

Fred Mertz
Director, Research Lab

1 See Write-Up #50.

2 Detailing all your affirmative efforts to rehabilitate the employee in conjunction with the history of formal
disciplinary measures taken is a good strategy in a termination letter. Remember that if the ex-employee seeks
counsel to sue you for wrongful discharge, this letter will be the first piece of evidence reviewed by plaintiff’s
counsel. A well-constructed termination letter outlining your actions could function as a “repellent” to dissuade
a lawyer from taking on the case.

3 This was a very minor injury, but it sufficed to make this final incident “clean” in order to warrant a discharge.

-364-

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