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Voluntary or Involuntary Termination

Termination of employment is an inevitable part of personnel activity within every company. However, understanding whether the termination was voluntary or involuntary is not something that everyone truly understands. So, listed below are examples of some of the most common circumstances under which employment is terminated:


  • Resignation – This is a voluntary employment termination initiated solely by an employee.
  • Discharge – This is an involuntary employment termination initiated solely by the employer and is usually due to negative behavior or poor performance issues with the employee.
  • Layoff – This is an involuntary employment termination initiated by the employer for non-disciplinary reasons. A layoff does not necessarily mean that employees will be rehired when the company is once again in a hiring mode. However, if your company is subject to a collective bargaining agreement that may determine “recall” rights in the event that the company plans to hire again.
  • Retirement – This is a voluntary employment termination initiated by the employee meeting all requirements by the employer for retirement from the company.

Whether you have a voluntary or involuntary termination within your company, it is always a good idea to document everything. Absent the documentation, you are not building a strong defense to a lawsuit for discrimination or wrongful discharge. Even in the event that it is an amicable termination, which is generally the case with voluntary terminations, make sure that you have the event documented in order to protect both the employee and your company.


For additional information on this topic, please contact New Focus HR, LLC.


Written By: Kristen Shingleton, M.B.A., CCP

President, New Focus HR LLC










New Focus HR is a human resources consulting and training company that services all organizations. Our expert team collaborates with businesses to attract, motivate, retrain and retain their biggest assets, employees. While engaged with an organization, our focus is to find solutions that improve the company’s internal HR-related practices while increasing results at the same time! Our focus. Your results.