I don't think my brain is working this morning. I'm having trouble coming up with the name for a group of radio buttons on an employee update form. The radio buttons are for if an employee is terminated, has left, or retired (let me know if I'm missing other reasons, too). In a word or two, what would you label this section?

  • 14
    Well not to be dark but "Deceased" is probably a reason too.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:11
  • 1
    I did consider that. I think I'm going to get around it by putting "Other" as an option which prompts an "Other Reason" text box. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:14
  • that may work as (hopefully) it is an uncommon reason so there's no need to make a new box for every single possibility. Also I don't know your company structure but "Transfer" may be a reason, no longer working in your branch but not terminated just sent somewhere else (maybe that fits in leaving?)
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:17
  • 3
    I think allowing them to type another reason should cover the rest of the possibilities. I mean, they could be abducted, drafted, deported, missing, institutionalized, etc. Also, luckily enough for me "Transfer" doesn't need to be a reason, otherwise this form would be a lot more complicated. :) Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:26
  • 1
    @MSalters I do agree, it's pretty much three forms built into one. It's being done according to the request and making it easy to use has been the bane of my existence for the past few days. I will likely push to change it into three, however, now it is dynamic enough with MVC Foolproof form validation and JQuery hiding/showing required elements that I've been told it's simple enough by the users. It basically walks you through what's needed. Also, I will also talk to my HR department because I'm starting to get the feeling that the terminology used here is more sensitive than I thought. Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 12:49

5 Answers 5


You could try: "Reason For Departure"

  • 2
    Departure seems like the word I'm looking for. Thanks! Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:04
  • I've also heard the word 'separation' used, but the distinctions are sort of subtle and domain-specific to the Human Resources world.
    – user117529
    Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 23:23
  • I would suggest "reason for severance" (what is severed is the employer-employee contract). I don't know if this usage works outside the UK, though.
    – nigel222
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 8:23
  • @nigel222 In the US using the word severance implies the employee was laid off. When employees are laid off they're often times offered what's called a Severance Package. This might cause some confusion. Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 12:35

Try termination reason or reason for termination.

Termination can encompass all the ways in which an employee and employer end their relationship.

termination - The action of terminating something or the fact of being terminated.
‘the termination of a contract’

This means your termination option can be far too broad in its meaning. This article gives many other causes for employment termination. Termination for cause is a term which is used to describe one of the causes given.

Termination for Cause: In other instances of employment termination, the employment is terminated for a reason which is given to the employee and stated in the termination letter.

I would stay away from a name that combines termination and cause because it may confuse persons familiar with the term.

For other questions like this you can try posting your question on English Language & Usage as a word-request or phrase-request.

  • What would you consider for "Fired," then? "Discharged?" "Let go?" Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:30
  • Fired. You can always check with the intended users to ensure you use terms that they commonly use. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:34

According to a comment by the OP on another answer this form has three options,

'New employee', 'Current employee' and the one the question is about about. Based on this I would recommend using the term 'Former employee'

This fits in with the other employment status options and unlike the other terms suggested then AFAIK there is no 'hidden' meaning to the word former

'Termination'suggests to me that the person was fired.

'Departed' always make me think of the phrase 'Dearly departed' which is a euphemism for death

  • So the user would tick "Former Employee" and the "Former Employee" section will show up. The radio button group should be labeled "Reason for Departure?" I do feel like the word departure and departed almost have different connotations. I probably will ultimately use a combination of your answer and @Seth's. Thanks! Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 12:56

What about "Current Employment Status"? :-)

In two words: "Employment Status"

Update: @Seth has a better suggestion. I voted for that.

  • Wouldn't that imply that the radio button group would now have to include an additional option for persons who are still employed? Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:00
  • I already have a group of radio buttons for "New Employee," "Current Employee," and am missing the name for "Gone Employee." If the user selects "Gone Employee" (for my lack of term), then the group of radio buttons I mentioned in OP will come up. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:00
  • @Seth has a better suggestion. I'll vote for that. Commented Oct 3, 2016 at 13:02
  • I'm not sure I'd count "dead" as an "employment status" per se Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 14:35

In talking with HR staff in the office from time to time, the term I've heard used most often is No Longer Employed (NLE). This could serve as a radio button group name and could potentially be more intuitive for your user group depending on their own conventions. The fact that the radio buttons indicate some explanation of how/why they're NLE would be implicit.

No Longer Employed

  • Termination
  • Retirement
  • Resignation

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.