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Administration and Operations Manual

4.32 Termination

Last Revised: 16 May 2008
Refer Questions To: Director, Human Resources

Scope

This policy applies to regular and extended temporary staff and supervisors of staff employees in all offices and divisions of Gallaudet University, unless specifically covered by collective bargaining agreements made between Gallaudet University and certified bargaining agents.

Policy

The University will experience separations from time to time because of resignations, retirements, etc. Additionally, conditions may arise which call for the dismissal of an employee. The University does not have a contract of employment with any of its staff employees. Nevertheless, it is the University's general practice to attempt to improve poor performance through counseling and warning before undertaking involuntary termination. Employees who are unable to achieve the required level of sign language proficiency within the established time frame are notified that they have one final year to achieve the required level or be terminated. Any exceptions must be made by the President and should only be made in highly unusual circumstances. (Employees hired prior to the date of the Sign Communication Policy are considered "grandfathered" into the system and are not subject to termination consideration solely based on sign language skills.) For additional information, refer to the policy on Sign Communication. Employees charged with gross misconduct may be terminated immediately and without prior warning. Employees in senior administrator and administrative officer positions serve exclusively by appointment of the President or his/her designee and may be terminated (or, if tenured, removed from the position) with 30 days notice, without counseling or warning and without right of appeal.

For information regarding termination during the probationary period, refer to the Probationary Period policy. For termination due to layoff, refer to the Staff Layoff policy.

Note: Statements in italics are currently suspended.

Approved by: Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

Definitions

  1. Voluntary Separation
    1. Not Encouraged: The resignation of an employee.
    2. Encouraged: The requested resignation of an employee when discharge is imminent.
    3. Unauthorized Absence: An employee fails to return to work following a period of approved leave or is absent for three or more consecutive working days and fails to notify the University of the need for leave.
    4. Other: Any other voluntary termination not covered under A, B, or C above.
  2. Involuntary Termination
    1. Discharge for Poor Performance
      The termination of an employee for acts which indicate an unacceptable level of performance or adversely affect departmental operations. Such acts include, but are not limited to: failure or inability to perform assigned tasks; failure to achieve the required level of sign proficiency; sub-standard quality or quantity of work; poor attitude toward or lack of interest in work; lack of cooperation; failure to recognize and/or adhere to University and/or departmental policies and procedures; excessive absenteeism or tardiness.
    2. Discharge for Gross Misconduct
      The termination of an employee for acts which jeopardize the safety or well-being of students, employees, or other individuals, cause damage to or destruction of University property, constitute a crime, demonstrate a resistance to or disregard of authority or direction, or evidence that counseling and/or warning are not in the best interest of the University. Such acts include, but are not limited: commission of a University-related crime (e.g., theft of or on University property); possession, manufacture, sale, distribution, use or under the influence of illegal drugs during work hours or while on University property; abuse of or under the influence of alcohol during work hours or while on University property; physical fights; inexcusable neglect of duty; unruly physical or verbal resistance to or willful disobedience of authority or work direction; unauthorized dissemination of confidential information.
    3. Other
      Any other involuntary termination not covered under A or B above.

Procedures

  1. Voluntary Separation - Not Encouraged
    When an employee notified the supervisor of his/her intent to resign, the supervisor should:
    1. Obtain a written letter of resignation from the employee.
    2. Confirm the resignation in writing. (If an employee does not submit a letter of resignation, the verbal resignation should be confirmed in writing.)
    3. Instruct the employee to arrange an exit interview with Human Resources Services for a review of benefits.
    4. Prepare a Separation Personnel Action Form and verify return of University property and any monies due.
    5. Immediately inform the Director, ITS, and any other database administrator where the employee had access, of the separation.
    If an employee's employment is terminated because of an unauthorized absence, the employee should be informed in writing and a Separation Personnel Action Form prepared.
  2. Voluntary Separation - Encouraged
    When an employee's performance has deteriorated to the point that discharge is imminent, the employee may be offered the opportunity to resign. If the employee elects to resign, the procedures outlined in Procedure 1 should be followed.
  3. Involuntary Discharge for Poor Performance
    Termination for poor performance should occur after attempts at corrective action (i.e., counseling, a written warning, including a one-year warning notice regarding termination for failing to meet the required sign proficiency level, and a suspension without pay not to exceed ten working days, if appropriate) do not substantially improve the employee's performance. If termination is warranted, the supervisor should:
    1. Contact the senior administrator and Director, Human Resources Services and Director, Equal Opportunities Programs to review events leading to the termination.
    2. Inform the employee in writing of the reason(s) for termination and the effective date of separation. No notice is required.
    3. Instruct the employee to arrange an exit interview with Human Resources Services for a review of benefits.
    4. Prepare a Separation Personnel Action Form and verify return of University property and any monies due.
    5. Immediately inform the Director, ITS, and any other database administrator where the employee had access, of the separation.
  4. Involuntary Discharge for Gross Misconduct
    Termination for gross misconduct need not be preceded by attempts at corrective action. When discharge is warranted, the supervisor should:
    1. Contact the senior administrator and Director, Human Resources Services and Director, Equal Opportunities Programs to review the events leading to the termination. If necessary, the employee may be placed on administrative leave while the circumstances are being reviewed.
    2. Inform the employee verbally and in writing of the reason(s) for termination and the effective date and time of separation. No notice is required.
    3. Instruct the employee to arrange an exit interview with Human Resources Services for a review of benefits.
    4. Prepare a Separation Personnel Action Form and verify the return of University property and any monies due.
    5. Immediately inform the Director, ITS, and any other database administrator where the employee had access, of the separation.
    Employees who are dismissed for gross misconduct are not eligible for reemployment consideration.

Severance Pay

Discharged employees, except those who are discharged for gross misconduct, receive severance pay in accordance with the following schedule:

Length of Continuous Service Amount of Severance Pay
Less than 1 year 1 week base salary
1 year but less than 10 years 2 weeks base salary
10 years or more 2 weeks base salary plus 1 week base salary for each
full 5 years of continuous employment from date of hire

Employees who are dismissed for gross misconduct do not receive severance pay.

Final Pay

If the Payroll Office receives at least three days prior notification on voluntary terminations, the employee's final paycheck is issued on the last day of work. Otherwise the employee is paid no later than the next regular pay date.

Involuntarily separated employees receive their final paycheck on their last day of work provided the Payroll Office receives notification by 1 p.m. Otherwise, the employee is paid on the next business day.

Collection procedures may be implemented if the employee does not return all University property or has not satisfied all financial obligations with the University.

Benefits

Insurances/Retirement:

All separating employees should contact Human Resources Services for information regarding termination, continuation of coverage or conversion privileges for insurances, and for information regarding retirement options.

Annual Leave:

Separating employees are reimbursed for annual leave according to the maximums as outlined in Policy 4.11 - Annual Leave.

Sick Leave:

Unused sick leave is not reimbursable but will be reinstated (if not used for other purposes) if an employee returns to regular status staff employment within one year of the date of separation.

Rights of Appeal:

Involuntary terminated employees who have satisfactorily completed their initial probationary period may appeal their termination through the dispute resolution process.

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