Last Revised: 10 Oct 2019

Refer Questions to: Executive Director, Human Resources

Scope

This policy applies to regular and extended temporary staff 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. Each staff employee is employed on an at-will basis and may be terminated, with or without cause or reason, and with or without advanced notice, except as expressly provided for in a written employment agreement between the employee and the University, which is signed by the President of the University or his/her designee, and the employee. Nevertheless, although staff are employed on an at-will basis, it is the University's general practice to attempt to improve poor performance through counseling and warning before undertaking involuntary termination.

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 of notice or pay in lieu thereof, 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.

 

Approved by: Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

Definitions

1.  Voluntary Separation

A.  Not Encouraged: The resignation of an employee.

B.  Encouraged: The requested resignation of an employee when discharge is imminent.

C.  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.

D.  Other: Any other voluntary termination not covered under A, B, or C above.

2.  Involuntary Termination

  1. 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 departmental policies and procedures; excessive absenteeism or tardiness.  Termination for poor performance should generally occur after attempts at progressive discipline (i.e., counseling, a written warning, and a suspension without pay not to exceed ten working days, if appropriate) do not substantially improve the employee's performance. The type of progressive discipline is in the discretion of the University based on its assessment of the problem and not all forms of potential progressive discipline must be followed in progression.

  2. Lack of Funding: If an employee holds a position that is known to be dependent on grant or other external funding (e.g., the position was advertised as being dependent on such funding), and that funding is eliminated or reduced, then the employee's employment may be terminated immediately (in the foregoing circumstances, A&O 4.33 does not apply).

  3. Inability to satisfy prerequisites of position: Involuntary termination for an employee's failure to provide proof that employee can work in the position, such as failure to provide Form I-9 documentation verifying eligibility to work in the U.S., failure to provide a required certification, degree, or similar requirement for the position.

  4. Misconduct/Violation of Rules: Conflict of interest, insubordination, sleeping on the job, violation of University policy, or other similar inappropriate actions as determined in the discretion of the University. Termination should occur after an attempt at corrective action, where the University determines in its discretion that corrective action is appropriate and can improve the employee's conduct.

  5. 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; possession of a weapon; 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.

  6. Other: Any other involuntary termination not covered under A, B, C, D, or E above.

Procedures

  1. Voluntary Separation (Not Encouraged by Gallaudet)
    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 for a review of benefits.
    4. Prepare a Separation Personnel Action Form and verify return of University property and any monies due.
    5. Send an email to separation@gallaudet.edu to inform the appropriate departments of the separation.  Several departments, including the Payroll Office, Gallaudet Technology Services, Department of Public Safety, and Finance Office, will receive this email.

If an employee's employment is terminated because of an unauthorized absence, the supervisor should consult Human Resource and the employee should be informed in writing and a Separation Personnel Action Form prepared.

  1. 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. Before offering the employee this opportunity, the supervisor should contact the senior administrator, Executive Director, Human Resources and Director, Equal Opportunity Programs, to review events leading to the decision. If the employee elects to resign, the procedures outlined in Procedure 1 should be followed.

  2. Involuntary Discharge for Poor Performance, Lack of Funding, Inability to Satisfy Prerequisites of Position, and/or Misconduct/Violation of Rules.
    If termination is warranted, the supervisor should:

    1. Contact the senior administrator, Executive Director, Human Resources and Director, Equal Opportunity 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 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 Executive Director, GTS, and any other database administrator where the employee had access, of the separation.

  3. Involuntary Discharge for Gross Misconduct
    When gross misconduct discharge is warranted, the supervisor should:

    1. Contact the senior administrator and Executive Director, Human Resources 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 for a review of benefits.
    4. Prepare a Separation Personnel Action Form and verify the return of University property and any monies due.
    5. Send an email to separation@gallaudet.edu to inform the appropriate departments of the separation.  Several departments, including the Payroll Office, Gallaudet Technology Services, Department of Public Safety, and Finance Office, will receive this email.

Employees who are dismissed for gross misconduct are not eligible for reemployment consideration.

Severance Pay

Employees whose employment ends pursuant to A&O 4.32 are not entitled to severance except in the following circumstances:

  • If an employee is dismissed during their probationary period other than for gross misconduct, they will receive one week base salary subject to the employee signing (and, where applicable, not revoking) a general release of claims in the form provided by the University.

Final Pay

If the employee is voluntarily terminated, the employee is paid no later than the next regular payday or within seven days, whichever is earlier.

Involuntarily separated employees receive their final paycheck on the next business day.  

Collection procedures will 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 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.