The University honors academic professional and academic administrative (P&A) employee (93xx, 96xx, 97xx) appointments through the official end date of the employment contract unless the employee has agreed to an earlier end to the appointment or a ground for early termination by the University exists as outlined in this policy. Employees holding select appointments that provide for different termination provisions may have their appointment terminated immediately or with required notice pursuant to this policy. Early or select appointment terminations are different from the non-renewal of an appointment which provides employees the opportunity to work through the end of their employment contract.
The University at its initiation also may enter into a severance agreement with P&A employees who agree to end their appointment early or under circumstances of ending a type of appointment as described under Select Appointment-Related Terminations. Senior leaders are excluded from coverage under the severance provisions of this policy.
The University may terminate an academic professional and administrative (P&A) employee (93xx, 96x, 97xx) appointment prior to the employment contract's official end date without the employee's agreement for any one of the following three reasons: 1) fiscal emergency, 2) program curtailment, or 3) just cause sanction.
- Fiscal Emergency: Fiscal emergency is a drastic reduction in University budget that has been officially recognized and declared by the Board of Regents.
- Program Curtailment: Program curtailment is the elimination, reduction, modification, or redirection of an academic program or service or in a non-academic program or service that is recognized by the senior administrator of the campus, college, or administrative unit.
- Just Cause Sanction: Early termination sanction may be imposed as a disciplinary sanction based on just cause. Just cause involves reasonableness, evidence of forewarning, investigation, proof, consistency, and equity. Just cause termination of the employment contract is grievable.
Select Appointment-Related Terminations
- Termination of a Continuous Professional Appointment:
An academic professional in a continuous appointment may be terminated for the three reasons cited. Continuous academic professional employees have a twelve month notice of termination or comparable severance regardless of years of service when terminated for reasons of fiscal emergency or program curtailment, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.
- Termination of Acting/Interim and Limited Administrative Appointments:
Employees holding an acting/interim academic administrative appointment may have their position terminated at any time, including when the position is filled on a permanent basis. Employees holding a limited academic administrative appointment may have their appointment terminated at any time regardless of any end date specified in their Notice of Appointment. Termination from acting/interim or limited academic administrative appointments is not grievable.
Institution-Initiated Severance Agreements
Under exceptional circumstances, and with the approval of the president or delegate and the vice president for the Office of Human Resources (VPHR) in accord with the guidelines set forth in this policy, the University at its initiation may enter into a mutually agreed upon severance agreement with a P&A employee in exchange for the early termination of the appointment. There is no entitlement to such agreements. In all cases, the employee will terminate employment as of the date of the agreement and must release all claims against the University arising out of employment. Those individuals in senior leadership positions are excluded from coverage under the severance provisions as described in this policy.
Implementation of a Severance Agreement
A severance agreement may be initiated and implemented by the University according to the following guidelines:
- A severance agreement may be entered into with academic professionals or academic administrators holding an annually renewable, multiple year contract. Employees must also be holding a 67 to 100 percent time position and an appointment term of nine months or greater. Factors to consider in entering into a proposed severance agreement include cost to the University, advantages to the University in replacement of the employee, advantages to the University in minimizing disruption to the unit, and the overall interests of the University.
The severance amount may not exceed the amount of salary, retirement, and health care contributions the University would have paid to the employee while working out a notice period for non-renewal of appointment. With these limitations, a lump sum may include cash equivalents of the employee's salary, the University’s contribution to the employee’s Faculty Retirement Program account, and University contribution to the employee's health care (medical and dental) coverage in effect at the time of the severance agreement. The president may approve exceptions.
- The responsible administrator has the discretion to offer high-level leaders on a limited appointment, who do not fall under the definition of senior leaders, a severance agreement when (1) the individual is being asked to leave before the end of their current appointment year or (2) the individual is leaving during a change in University presidents or other senior administrators. This provision does not apply to other high-level leaders on limited appointment who also hold tenured faculty or continuous academic professional positions at the University.
The University may enter into a severance agreement that provides a severance amount that may not exceed the equivalent of six months of salary and retirement, and up to eighteen months of health care contributions. In determining the number of months of severance payment, the University will consider years of service in the current or other senior positions at the University, the individual's overall record of performance during that time, whether the individual has been given the option to stay until the end of the normal appointment year or longer, and any other equitable factors. A lump sum may include cash equivalents of the (1) employee’s salary, (2) the University’s contribution to the employee’s Faculty Retirement Program account equal to the number of months of salary, and (3) University contribution up to eighteen months towards the employee's health care (medical and dental) coverage in effect at the time of the severance agreement. The president may approve exceptions.
A severance agreement may not be entered into if the administrator is terminated for just cause or has a contract providing for different severance terms.
- When the University initiates an early termination for individuals holding an academic administrative appointment other than a senior leader appointment, and who also hold a tenured faculty or continuous academic professional appointment, consideration is given first to granting the affected employee an appropriate professional development leave, depending on eligibility. If employees choose not to remain at the University, thus relinquishing their tenured or continuous appointment, a severance agreement may be considered.
- The president will consult with the chair of the Board of Regents in cases of unusual importance.
Reason for Policy
The University provides for early termination of individual P&A appointments due to rare and exceptional circumstances and provides for termination of select appointment types as set forth in this policy.