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9 Types of Employee Separations

9 Types of Employee Separations

Employment separation can occur for many different reasons. The departure of valued employees can come as grave news for employers. The reason that causes a good employee to leave varies. It could be because employees feel overworked, undervalued, or frustrated by the company.

Employment separation can occur for many different reasons. The departure of valued employees can come as grave news for employers. The reason that causes a good employee to leave varies. It could be because employees feel overworked, undervalued, or frustrated by the company.

Good employees should always be valued and treated with gratitude. It is normal to feel disappointed when an employee announces their departure. None-the-less, the leaving process is always handled with great care. This is a fantastic opportunity to gather feedback from the employee and maintain a good relationship. Departing employees can serve as valuable brand ambassadors in the future.

Managers and HR teams must follow the necessary steps of employment termination. A standard severance agreement should always be put in place. A severance agreement is a legal contract between the employee and the employer. This document details the terms and procedures for employee separation.

Sometimes the departure of an employee is not pleasant. Dissatisfaction from the employer may result in terminations, layoffs, or dismissals. In this article, you’ll learn more about some of the reasons for employee separation. 

What is Voluntary Separation?

Voluntary separation can come as a result of retirement, resignation or a transfer request. It is standard practice to leave a 2 week notice period before leaving. There are two primary reasons for voluntary separation: professional and personal.


An employee might want to separate because they are searching for a new position. They might want a more challenging role, or a new career entirely. They could have responsibilities outside of your organisation that now takes precedence. It’s also possible that they are looking for a role with more responsibility.


There are factors outside of work that can lead to separation. Marriage or family difficulties can put a strain on employees. Added pressure at home might make them incapable of working effectively.

The arrival of a baby is another common reason. For females, carrying a child can make it impossible to continue working. This is especially prevalent in more physical occupations. A new father may also need to offer assistance to a child or mother. 

A sudden change in circumstances such as moving house or new responsivities is also a factor. If an employee decides to move to a new area or take on additional projects, this is regarded as voluntary separation.

What is Involuntary Separation?

Involuntary separation involves reasons that are beyond the employee’s control. There are a variety of different factors that could be involved here. 

In general, there are 3 fundamental categories of involuntary separation. These include health problems, behavioural problems, and organisational problems. A separation could be permanent or temporary. A furlough refers to the temporary separation of an employee. 

Termination for Cause

When employment is terminated for cause, it means that there was a specific reason involved. This reason must be clear. Some causes could be theft, abuse, or the falsification of documents. Situations such as these usually result in immediate and automatic termination. No second chances.

Termination with Prejudice

This often involves behavioural or ethical transgressions. This employee might be taking too many breaks or insulting colleagues at work. Normally, disciplinary procedures are put in place before termination. In most cases, these employees are ineligible for rehire.

Termination without Prejudice

Termination without prejudice represents all reasons that are not associated with employee behaviour. Often these actions are made regretfully such as layoffs or redundancies. Employees who lose their job for reasons such as these are eligible for rehire.

Constructive Dismissal

Although this can appear as voluntary, constructive dismissal is often out of the employee’s control. Here, separation occurs on account of work conditions becoming unbearable for the employee. They will feel as though they had no other choice. Perhaps they were asked to commit unlawful acts on behalf of the company. If an employer offers the ultimatum: ‘either resign or be fired’, this can be categorised as constructive dismissal. 

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination accounts for reasons that are deemed to be illegal. Terminating employment as a result of discrimination or complaints is considered illegal.


Layoffs can occur on account of a company downsizing or cost-cutting. Political or economical reasons are often the catalyst for this. If the company deem a service to be unnecessary, they might start laying employees off. Layoffs can occur in large volumes.


Although for most, retirement might not come soon enough, it does not always make both parties happy. It is usually a mutual agreement between the employee and the manager. In most cases, an employee retires once they have reached the required age for acquiring the benefits laid out by their employer.

Sometimes retirement becomes mandatory when health problems start to jeopardise public health. Occupations such as public services, pilots, taxi drivers could result in a mandatory retirement.

Some employees prefer to gradually reduce their hours as they approach retirement. This process is known as phased retirement and is usually prior agreed upon with the manager. 

The Involuntary Separation Process

Before separation can take place, there are a few steps that should be implemented. These steps ensure that the employee is given the best chance of remaining with the company.

The employee must be made aware of any problems. Usually, it’s the manager who approaches the employee with feedback and suggestions. Time is given to the employe to demonstrate improvement.

  1. If the problem persists, the manager and the HR team must discover the cause of the issue. Is the position too difficult for the employee? Do they have the necessary experience? Are there other more suitable positions for this person?
  2. If there is still no improvement, a formal warning is given or a probation period is set. 
  3. If the problem persists, it might be time to consider termination. 

Employee Separation Final Steps

Once all necessary steps have been taken, it is time to bid farewell to your employee. This generally involves the completion of paperwork. Keys and IDs should also be handed over to HR. Logins and accounts are terminated.

An exit interview is an official way of providing your employee with feedback before they leave. It is also a great opportunity to understand where the business may have failed. With this information, a company can take steps to improve their onboarding techniques. Valued employees are usually awarded in the form of a dinner, party, or gift.

AhoyTeam and Employee Separation

The path towards employment termination can be long and complex. AhoyTeam offers custom, automated workflows that ensure perfect results, every time. Save your HR team valuable resources and avoid legal complications, whilst ensuring a seamless departure for your employees. Remember, even after an employee leaves, they continue representing your brand.

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