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Employees leave your company for a variety of reasons, and each can serve up its own issues. Every employment transition can spark instability, and should be approached with kindness and respect.

Like the employee onboarding and hiring process, the last phase of the employment cycle is important for the health of your business. It is worth investing time to solidify the processes for voluntary and involuntary employee transitions. Employers Council is here to support you and ensure that your employee exit and firing processes go as smoothly as possible for all parties involved.

Become a Member to Access Employee Exit and Termination Support

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Employers Council Employee Exit and Termination Services

Our experienced HR consultants are available to assist you with all issues that may arise when preparing for and dealing with exiting employees, whether due to a voluntary separation, a termination, a layoff or retirement.

Voluntary Separation

An employee may resign due to internal or external factors - they found another career opportunity, are moving out of state, are taking permanent time off, etc. Having clear processes for these situations helps to ensure the employee's exit and your company's transition are smooth.

Voluntary separation allows for a brief time period to solidify the transition with other employees and for your company to understand the reasoning behind the resignation. Employers Council can help you optimize the process for voluntary employee resignations. That way, if one of your team members quits unexpectedly, your organization is prepared for their departure.


Employee termination occurs because of poor performance or violations of company policy. An employee should not be surprised when they are terminated – the process and criteria should be over communicated to all employees during the onboarding process and throughout their employment. Depending on the situation, an employer can work with the employee to attempt to remedy the issue(s) prior to termination, but an employer has the right to terminate an employee at any time.

Firing an employee can lead to uncomfortable situations and can be stressful for everyone involved. When an unproductive employee is inhibiting you from accomplishing your organizational goals, HR needs to take administrative action. Before you terminate an existing employee, make sure that you have a professional process in place. The attorneys at Employers Council can support you throughout the termination process.

No termination is ever completely risk-free. Partner with your HR team, legal team and an Employers Council attorney to ensure that the termination decision is made objectively, supported by a legitimate business reason and based on job-related criteria that are consistently applied.


A layoff stems from an organization no longer needing an employee's services. These can occur when company funding is reduced, business is consistently slow or the organization is being structurally reorganized. Different from terminations, layoffs do not have to do with an employee's performance or compliance with workplace regulations. Layoffs are typically reliant on the health of the business.

When a company is in a tough spot financially, positions may no longer be needed at a company, or a business may not be able to support the role. In these situations, management has two options – choose which employees exit the company (involuntary layoffs) or offer a layoff package to employees who will voluntarily step down (voluntary layoffs).

Involuntary layoffs, as you can imagine, are not as smooth as voluntary layoffs. Being asked to leave a company is never easy, no matter the circumstances.


When an employee meets a certain age, they can retire and leave the workforce. This type of employee leave is planned for and discussed between an employee and employer beforehand.

Beginning the retirement conversation with an employee can be tricky. Consult with your legal counsel before speaking with an older employee. Structuring this conversation around career goals and developmental plans is the best approach to avoid age discrimination.

If an employee you believe should retire refuses to, proceed cautiously. Unless your company has established a mandatory retirement policy, terminating an employee contract because they refuse to retire qualifies as age discrimination.

Employee Exit and Transition Advice

Any employee's departure will affect other employees' workflow – directly through workload or emotionally. Long-time employees have collected significant knowledge about how to work efficiently at your company. Encourage knowledge-sharing across departments and employees. The HR experts at Employers Council are available to help you properly equip your existing employees.

Don't overload the exiting employee with work, but ask for their help in transition during this process. Make the employee's final days with your company as pleasant as possible!

Developing Exit Interview Questions and Procedures

The purpose of an exit interview is to understand why an employee decided to leave your company. It can be a difficult conversation, and the feedback should be taken seriously by management. Go into the interview with a plan, determine problem trends that arise, and work toward remedying those situations.

You can send a confidential survey to the exiting employee, hire a third-party consultant to call them, or ask them questions in person. Remember that the exit interview is typically the last impression you will leave on your exiting employee! The more personal this interaction is, the better the impression.

Exit interviews, if conducted correctly, can serve as valuable insights into organizational culture and structure. Decisive action must be taken on significant issues revealed in these interviews. If nothing is done with the information gathered, the program loses credibility and is a waste of time and resources for all parties involved.

Record-Keeping Guidance

The HR experts at Employers Council can help you organize your employee records. The EEOC Regulations require that you keep all previous employee records for one year after they leave (date of termination).

We provide guidance for managers to ensure that you are not keeping sensitive information about your employees for longer than necessary. Understand why you should keep records, the kinds of records you should keep, and for how long.

Career Transition Services

When you hired your employees, you didn't hire them to simply fill a position – you invested in their careers and value their growth and development. Career transition services can equip your transitioning employees with the skills and resources that they need to succeed, whether they are leaving your company or are taking on a new role internally.

Outplacement and Retirement Transition Services

An exiting employee may already be thinking about their next career move, and they may look to you for help. If outplacement services are benefits for your company, we can help you connect your employees to the resources they need.

Some retiring employees will want to begin their vacation immediately, while others will want to ease into it by working part-time or in a consulting role. Employers Council is ready to determine a retirement policy to cater to all retiring employee's needs.

Walk through the outplacement and retirement transitions professionally and respectfully – they are sensitive topics.

When you join Employers Council, you will benefit from our employee exit and legal services. Contact Employers Council today and see how we can put our HR solutions to work for you!


Does Employers Council fire employees for me?

As part of our core services, Employers Council will advise on terminations, but not actually perform them. However, members who use our Interim Staffing services may request this as a service.

What do I do if an employee quits and leaves immediately?

Depending on the laws of your state, earned wages may be due and payable immediately. Be prepared to send required notices relating to COBRA and other issues, as well. Apart from that, the doctrine of at-will employment means your employee can quit at any time without fear of repercussions, except in certain circumstances. 

What do I do if an employee is suing me?

Contact legal counsel immediately. There are certain steps you'll need to take right away to preserve evidence. In employment law, most lawsuits are preceded by agency activity; for example, through the EEOC or the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore, you should know of the possibility of a lawsuit well in advance. Employers Council can handle agency responses for you and tell you other steps to take.

What if I am contacted about employee records two years after they left the company?

It depends on the records requested. Employers Council can tell you how long you must retain every kind of record.


How many people from Employers Council will work with my company?

Employers Council employs over 100 attorneys and HR professionals, all of whom are at your disposal. We assign you to an attorney, HR professional, or Organizational Development and Learning specialist according to your preference. However, you are free to work with that person or anyone else you make a connection with at Employers Council.


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We serve employers of all sizes by responding to requests for assistance with timely, considered advice and providing all the tools necessary to attract, hire, train, and retain the best possible workforce.


Who We Are

Employers Council is more than 200 legal and HR professionals with experience and expertise in every facet of human resources and employment law. We are easily accessible and well equipped to address your issues.