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How to Write an Appeal to Being Fired

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Being fired from a job can be a devastating experience. While you may feel a number of emotions at that time, it’s important to stay calm and courteous, especially if you plan on appealing your dismissal. Keep in mind that many employees in the United States are employed at will, which means that employers do not need to provide a reason or explanation for terminating an employee at any time. However, if you feel that you were wrongfully dismissed, you can present your position in a letter of appeal for termination.

State the Facts in Your Appeal After Dismissal at Work

Before you begin writing your appeal letter, it’s important to figure out your ideal outcome. What do you want the result of your letter to be? Do you want to be reinstated to your original position, or do you want a formal apology, for example? Keep that in mind when writing your appeal letter.

Figure out who you will address the letter to. It may be your direct manager, a human resources manager or the business owner. Begin your first paragraph by introducing why you are writing this letter. Be sure to mention any specific dates, names and other details you have, so that the reader is provided the full picture.

For example, your letter of appeal for termination might say, “I was notified on Dec. 1, 2018, by my manager Jan Smith that I was being terminated immediately from my position as Sales Manager at Zed Consulting.” Next, inform the reader what your plans are. For example, “I believe that I was wrongfully terminated from my position and I am appealing this decision.” This clearly tells the reader the purpose of the letter.

Keep Legalities in Mind

It’s critical to understand your legal stance in your process to appeal. You may wish to consult an attorney before you write your appeal to ensure that you have a full understanding of your rights and your employer’s rights. Under U.S. law, employees cannot be discriminated against based on their age, gender, race, religion, disability and other factors. If you feel your termination was due to one of these discriminatory reasons, mention this directly in your letter. Keep in mind that you will need to provide documentation to support your claim.

If you have a contractual agreement with your former employer or are an employee that is part of a union, you may have additional rights to consider. Review your contract or bargaining agreement with an expert to understand your rights. You may wish to include this information in your appeal letter to inform your workplace of your standing.

Be Courteous and Professional

Remember to keep your tone polite and professional. While you may be feeling emotional, it’s imperative to present logical information with supporting documentation for any claims you make. For example, if you were told that you were being terminated due to poor performance, but you have always received stellar performance reviews, note this in your letter and attach your previous performance reviews to back up your claims.

While appealing a termination of employment presents many challenges, keep in mind that you cannot address all the points in your appeal letter. Prioritize what you want to discuss and keep your letter short and direct. If you have additional matters regarding your dismissal that you’d like to work out with your employer, you can discuss those at the next step.

Present a Call to Action

End your letter with a call to action. If your company has a formal appeals process, you will need to stick to that protocol and proceed with the next steps the company determines. If there is no formal appeals process, ask for a phone call or a meeting with a decision-maker at the organization. For example, “I would like to discuss this matter further with you in person. Please let me know when I can come in this week.”


Anam Ahmed is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. She writes on everything from business to parenting, travel to technology. Learn more at